Department of Defense Announces Plan to Create National Manufacturing Innovation Institute

The Department of Defense and FlexTech Alliance, a major tech conglomerate, have announced that they will be partnering to create a National Manufacturing Innovation Institute to produce flexible hybrid electronic technologies.

The U.S. Department of Defense will invest $75 million in the institute, which will be created and managed by FlexTech in Silicon Valley, California.

FlexTech Alliance, made up of 96 companies, 41 universities, 14 state and local government organizations and 11 laboratories and nonprofit organizations, is devoted to fostering the growth, profitability and success of the flexible and printed electronics supply chain.

“Like the six other manufacturing innovation institutes established by President Obama over the last three years, four of which DoD helped lead…this will ensure that pioneering innovations needed to develop, manufacture and commercialize these cutting-edge electronics will happen right here in America,” Ashton Carter Secretary of Defense said in his announcement of the endeavor.

Carter described hybrid electronics as technology that uses advanced flexible materials for circuits, communications, sensors and power and then combines them with thinned silicon chips. It will allow the shaping of electronics to platforms.

Carter also said that the new technologies will make lifesaving advances and improve mission effectiveness.

“By seamlessly printing lightweight, flexible structural integrity sensors right onto the surfaces of ships and aircraft, or folding them into cracks and crevices where rigid circuit boards and bulky wiring could never fit, we’ll be able to have real-time damage reports — making the stuff of science fiction in that sense into a reality.”