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34 FLEX007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2019 about seven years of a well-controlled and well- established manufacturing environment. In 2001, the Motorola CTO Dennis Roberson was seeking to disrupt the way that we assembled electronics and the products that we could design. With his sponsorship and my direct boss, Dr. Iwona Turlik, we started on this path of manufacturing innovation. We thought, "Instead of having a rigid circuit board, could we use other materials for the circuit board? Could we use flexible materials such as textiles, polyesters, and paper, or stretchable materials such as silicones and polyurethane based soft materials? Could we use toughened glass that we could bend and form to any desired shape?" The search for the new FR-4 started my sec- ond stage of manufacturing innovation. From 2001–2010, we experienced a significant drive to integrate electronics into products that his- torically had no electronic content, which opened up people's imagination to where elec- tronics ultimately would be placed. That vision has driven the design of wearables and other types of on-body systems that we're starting to see today including those products provid- ing physiological monitoring of athletes and individuals who want to understand how their body performs. Also, other types of new sys- tems requiring non-FR-4 substrates are being driven by the healthcare and medical fields offering point-of-care diagnostics functionality. You're going to continue seeing the introduc- tion of new materials (soft, stretchable, flex- ible, conformal, etc.) that historically had no presence in the electronics industry. Goldman: What was it like learning that you could basically do whatever you want to do? Was it harder, easier, or just liberating? Gamota: I would say all three. Motorola was seeking to identify what was the next great innovation to differentiate our wireless prod- ucts portfolio. And the first thing when you think about flex and conformal is larger dis- plays to enhance the mobile devices experi- ence. The market seemed committed to help- ing realize a new technology that would allow people to have large 19-inch diagonal screens on their mobile devices that they could open up, roll up and put in their pocket. Motorola fostered an environment that allowed people to fail while innovating, but fail fast and make changes quickly. They promoted an environment that had individuals trying to do things that had never been done before, so there probably wasn't as much anxiety as you might see elsewhere in a VC-backed start- up. Also, at this point, I was involved in an entrepreneurial activity within Motorola where there was a sense of urgency to commercial- ize a product; the team worked 24/7 driven by enthusiasm rather than threat of venture closure. We were competing against the likes of Plastic Logic, Organic ID, and Poly IC—the darlings of the venture capital world in terms of startups. However, we didn't have that do- or-die ultimatum hanging over our heads since Motorola was supporting us. We had access to large teams of engineers across the Motorola enterprise (semiconductor, cell phone, pagers, 2-way radios, automotive, etc.). Also, we were able to partner with other large companies like Xerox (XRCC and PARC), DuPont, and Dow, to establish the best team. Further, because Motorola was a large verti- cally integrated electronics company, we were able to seek support from individuals that had experienced the early days of semiconductors and mobile electronics products. For instance, when we were trying to design circuitry using printing methods and inks, we went to Barry Herold, a 30-year veteran at Motorola who was known for his early IC innovations. Barry is credited with many innovations that contributed to the success of ICs as far back as the two-inch wafer. We had these wonderful mentors who kind of had a second coming; they were rejuvenated. Could we use toughened glass that we could bend and form to any desired shape?

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