Highlights from Day 1 of IDTechEx Printed Electronics USA 2015

By Sue Davis, Director of Business Development & Senior Analyst, Techcet

IDTechEx Printed Electronics USA 2015, held in Santa Clara, CA Nov 18-19, is one mega conference with 8 co-located tracks ranging from sensor technology & wearables to IoT, energy harvesting & storage to electric vehicles, 3D printing and graphene. IDTechEx completely occupied the Santa Clara Convention Center; throughout the day attendees and exhibitors commented the attendance was indeed up over prior years. To the dismay of some late arrivals, parking spaces were at a premium.

A venue with >200 exhibitors showcasing new technologies and applications connected conference attendees with equipment and materials suppliers, OEMs, end users, research institutes and academia.

Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx, kicked off the conference by sharing a key trends including:

  • Structural electronics are here now!
  • The Fashion industry is converging with technology (and evidenced by a number of exhibitors from this sector)
  • Stretchable electronics R&D has ramped significantly in the last 12 months
  • Printed and flexible electronics manufacturing is becoming center stage

Dr. Mounir Zok, a keynote speaker and biomedical engineering specialist for the US Olympic committee started his talk with a quote: “The blink of an eye dictates gold vs no medal.” He emphasized that technology is a key enabler to continually improve sports performance.

I had the opportunity to meet with several exhibitors:

  • Keith McMillen, founder and CEO of BeBop Sensors and avid musician, shared his journey of developing cylindrical sensors to analyze a violinist’s bow movement led to utilizing this technology for the Internet of Things and the founding of BeBop Sensors. Smart fabric is the core for Bebop’s sensor platform.
  • Dream car in every facet; aesthetics, functionality and environment understates the design of the Blade Keith Czinger, CEO and Founder of Divergent, discussed the foundation for Blade’s development was deeply rooted in reducing environmental impact while ensuring high performance.
  • Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) – manufactured via additive 3D printing technology vs. conventional processing labor, material and time intensive processes was demonstrated at NanoDimesion’s booth. Simon Fried, CMO and Co-Founder of NanoDimension discussed the benefit of 3D printed circuit boards (prototyping in hours vs weeks, design flexibility, process repeatability, …). In addition to development the 3D printers, NanoDimension has developed a line of specialty inks.

Another show highlight was Demonstration Street, a dedicated area on the show floor for product demonstrations in various stages of development – prototype to commercialization- featured printed flexible displays including posters, e-readers, audio paper, interactive games, OLED displays, electronics in fabrics, interactive printed controls and menus, printed RFID and more.

Stay tuned: Day 2 promises to be equally exciting! The main challenge is navigating IDTechEx to see all the great technology.

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