Flexible Electronics Are the Goal of Pentagon's First Silicon Valley Partnership

Flexible Electronics Are the Goal of Pentagon's First Silicon Valley Partnership image
September 28, 2015 | Source: Kevin Baron & Patrick Tucker, Defense One

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announces a five-year, $171 million effort to make and improve bendable circuitry.

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — A partnership to develop electronic components that bend — think touchscreens that wrap around your arm, or aircraft wings made of sensors — is the next step in Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s fast-moving campaign to harness Silicon Valley’s innovation and invite its companies to help create a next-gen military.

On Friday, Carter will announce funding for a new research institute to be run by the FlexTech Alliance, a San Jose-based public-private consortium founded to invent and improve “flexible hybrid electronics.” Over the next five years, the Defense Department will contribute $75 million via the Air Force Research Laboratory, while 96 companies including Apple and Lockheed Martin, 11 labs and universities, and other state and local government partners will pitch in $90 million. The total funding will be $171 million.

“Given what we’ve already done, there’s truly no limit to what we can achieve together,” Carter will say, according to excerpts of his Friday speech provided in advance to reporters traveling with the secretary. “That’s why I’ve been pushing the Pentagon to think outside our five-sided box, and invest in innovation here in Silicon Valley and in tech communities across the country.  And now we’re taking another step forward.”