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108 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2019 Flexible Circuits Go to College Flexible circuits have been in use in vari- ous ways for over 100 years, as argued by my friend, Dr. Ken Gilleo, based on a patent search he did many years ago. A flex patent was is- sued by the British Patent Office to Albert Han- sen at the turn of the 20 th century. Most of the advances and development, and the promul- gation of technology have been through ef- forts within the electronics industry that were sparked and led by a need for electronic in- terconnection solutions that allowed product developers to take advantage of flex circuits' unique 3D capabilities, including making con- nections that were physically dynamic. This industry provided its own interconnec- tion solutions as printed circuits, which had been long considered low-tech and uninterest- ing to researchers within academia. There, the focus had primarily been on the more exotic and higher-value semiconductor technology sector where the "big prize money" could be found and where grant money was available to do the kind of expensive research that is gener - ally required for breakthrough solutions in ma- terials and processes to sustain the march of de- velopment. Interconnections used to facilitate the use of the magic found on the semiconduc- tor devices were prosaic and of little interest. Flexible Thinking by Joe Fjelstad, VERDANT ELECTRONICS

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