PCB007 Magazine

PCB-Apr2015

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42 The PCB Magazine • April 2015 I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and recently-appointed Multek CTO Dr. Joan Vrtis sat down at IPC APEX EXPO 2015 to discuss the rapidly evolving wearables market, espe- cially for medical, and the myriad questions that must be addressed. Other topics include Multek's contribution to the wearables industry and what it sees as the main challenges to put- ting their circuits into various applications. Barry Matties: Why don't you start by telling me a little bit about what's that like being chief tech- nology officer at Multek. I understand it is a recent position. Congratulations! Dr. Joan Vrtis: Thank you very much. Multek is an industry leader in printed circuit technolo- gy, and the wholly owned subsidiary of Flextron- ics. As the chief technol- ogy officer, I'm looking at the wearable technol- ogy and how we can put our printed circuits into applications. So for Multek, it's really the solu- tions of what we can offer on the printed circuit side, whether it's a rigid circuit, a flex circuit, a r igid-flex and even things that can stretch and bend. We must be prepared for the broad mar- kets we serve, specifically in the wearables. That's currently where I've been putting most of my effort. Matties: Wearables is a fast-moving market, isn't it? Vrtis: Yes, it is. Matties: What is the state of the market as you see it, currently? Vrtis: One of the things we've seen just re- cently is the expansion of the number of ideas as to what should be a wearable. How do we help translate these ideas to product and how do we market them? Some trends regarding wearables are in close proximity to the body, on the body and in the body. For example, the wristband type of technologies, such as activ- ity band, watch, smart watch. Then there are the wearables on skin, which includes patch- like technologies used for authentication. Now, wearables ideas are growing, as inventors and companies look at putting electronics into a fabric. Can the button be used as the connec- tion for the continuity of the circuit? Can the zipper be part of the solution to turn on and off the electronics if placed in a safety jacket? How do we integrate the components that go with that? We have to consider power, wireless, etc. And if you want something that's going to move—a gyroscope, or accelerometer—how do The Challenges of the Fast-Moving Wearables Market IntervIew

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