FLEX007

Flex-Apr2018

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10 FLEX007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2018 Welcome to the resurrection of Flexible Think- ing, a flex circuit monthly column I wrote more years ago than I care to remember, but perhaps some of those reading this still do. I am going to guess that given the passage of time, many of the earlier readers may have moved to retire - ment or perhaps into other industries. To those of you who do remember, I extend my greet- ings and my thanks for checking back in to read my humble musings and observations on what I think we can agree is one of the most interest - ing and useful of all electronic intercon- nection technolo- gies. To those of you who are new to the industry or first-time readers... Welcome! It is my hope that in the columns to follow, you will find useful thoughts and ideas about this fascinating and continually evolving branch of electronic inter - connections. Flexible circuits are known by a few different names depending on one's global location and language: flexible printed circuits, FPCs, flex circuits, flexi cir- cuits, flexibles, bendables and a few others that are application-specific such as flexible heater circuits and controlled impedance cable constructions. While flex circuits are an origi- nal and foundational interconnection technol- ogy for electrical and electronic products (one of the first patents for electrical interconnec- tions, issued at the turn of the last century, was arguably a flexible circuit), over the years there have been several forays into technological extensions of the basic idea. One such area of high and increasing interest in the last several years has been stretchable circuits, which the European Union has made significant invest- ments in over the last decade in the pur- suit of technologies that facilitate the integration of electronics into wearable products for a wide array of prospec- tive applications from medical monitoring, to communications and fashion. As the name implies, this flex circuit variation is produced on stretchable sub- strates. The basic m a n u f a c t u r i n g is not all that dif- ficult but designing and manufacturing conductive circuits that match the stretchiness of the substrate has been a sig- nificant challenge and has had researchers working diligently to find ways to accomplish the objective. (For those interested, there is a chapter on this subject in the 4 th edition of my book Flexible Circuit Technology.) There has also been growth of interest in a new branch of electronic interconnection using flexible circuit technology that is being called by some "flexible electronics," which is an integration of components and sensors and to Flexible Thinking by Joe Fjelstad, VERDANT ELECTRONICS Flexible Thinking Redux

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