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22 FLEX007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2019 Flexible Thinking Feature Column by Joe Fjelstad, VERDANT ELECTRONICS A Few Simple Lessons in Designing Reliable 3D Flex There is an old and familiar adage that goes something like this: "If the only tool in your tool chest is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." We all have a tendency to stick close to the familiar and use the tools we know to create solutions to problems confront - ing us; we're only human. Unfortunately, using only familiar tools limits our ability to come up with optimal or even superior solutions. Hope- fully, what follows will help you avoid some of the traps conventional wisdom doesn't always give guidance on. But first, having written extensively over the years about flexible-circuit technology, I still try to find fresh ways to think about flex- ible circuits and their construction and use. In the process of thinking about what I might say here, a fun book I read in high school more than half a century ago came to mind. The title of that book is Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by E d w i n A . A b b o t t [ 1 ] . I n full disclosure, and as one might guess from the extended title, the book is not about geometry but is a rather entertaining read. I found it to be a useful book for stimulating thought. In the book, almost every male character in Flatland has two major dimensions—X and Y—and many possible sides (thus, they have area), but they can only be perceived as lines when looked at from the reference of the planar world in which they exist. Women, on the other hand, are depicted as being basic lines, and are required to make noise as they move about through Flatland should they be encountered head on and appear as a simple point. The protagonist (a square) encounters both Lineland and Pointland, but the encoun- ter with a sphere from Spaceland is where the entertainment really begins. Trying to con- vince others of another dimension is no mean task, one learns. Many humans are resistant to accepting the teachings of science. The book proved useful over the years to a number of prominent scientists (including Carl Sagan) seeking to help the layperson understand the

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