Defense

DOD pledges $75M for hybrid electronics

Google and the Pentagon

The Defense Department is awarding $75 million for manufacturing hybrid electronics to a consortium of more than 160 firms, universities and nonprofits. The funding, to be dispensed over five years, will be coupled with more than $90 million from industry, local governments and academia, the Pentagon said.

The "flexible hybrid electronics" manufacturing that the award will support is defined by the National Nanotechnology Initiative as a means of production that preserves "the full operation of traditional electronic devices on flexible, stretchable and conformal circuit boards."

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter made the announcement Aug. 28 during his trip to Silicon Valley. In announcing the award, which will be managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Pentagon described the technology as having "dual-use applications in both the consumer economy and the development of military solutions for the warfighter."

The technology has a range of applications, including wearable and health monitoring devices, the announcement states.

The winning consortium is led by FlexTech Alliance, an organization whose members include thin-film producers and universities. The alliance will use the funding to establish a Manufacturing Innovation Institute, one of several funded by the Obama administration. The institutes are intended as hubs where manufacturers can scale up new technologies.

Carter, a technocrat with strong ties to Silicon Valley, has accentuated DOD efforts to tap technological advances outside the Beltway. Earlier this year, he announced the creation of a full-time outreach office in Silicon Valley.

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is a former FCW staff writer.

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