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82 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2020 Andy Shaughnessy is managing editor of Design007 Magazine. He has been covering PCB design for 19 years. He can be reached by clicking here. One thing I noticed at both shows was that the flex exhibitors were busier than ever, with attendees checking out the latest flex and rig- id-flex technology. Formerly "boutique" appli- cations, such as metal-backed flex with alumi- num added as a heat sink in non-flexing sec- tions, are now gaining mainstream acceptance. Further, the divide between printed electron- ic circuits and standard flexible circuits contin- ues to shrink. I learned about a Texas compa- ny, NovaCentrix, that has made great strides in wearable technology. NovaCentrix, the inven- tor of photonic curing, has figured out a way to solder parts onto textiles, including regular clothing. I need to find out more about this; it seems almost impossible, given the heat re- quired to melt solder. (As Burt Rutan pointed out in his keynote at IPC APEX EXPO, for a tru- ly great idea, at least 50% of your team should believe the objective is impossible. This one fits the bill.) Rigid-flex was in abundance at both shows. This combo once made up just a few per- cents of overall flex circuits, but it's now near- ly ubiquitous and continues to gain in mar- ket share, especially among handheld devic- es. More and more OEMs are also moving into complex multi-board rigid-flex circuits, often for reasons related to space-saving and reliabil- ity. This month, we bring you a feature arti- cle, "Multi-board Etching: Managing Rigid-flex Designs and Conductivity" by Hemant Shah of Cadence Design Systems. We also have a great column by our regular contributor Joe Fjels- tad, "Power and Thermal Management: Deal- ing With the Heat." The economy is humming along, and our in- dustry is still expanding—slowly but surely. So far, 2020 is looking like a great year for flex and the whole industry. Let's hope that we can get the coronavirus under control. FLEX007 Researchers in the MIT Department of Civil and Environ- mental Engineering (CEE) have received a gift to advance their work on a device designed to position living cells for growing human organs using acoustic waves. The acoustofluidic device design with deep learning is being supported by Natick, Massachusetts-based MathWorks, a leading developer of mathematical computing software. "One of the fundamental problems in growing cells is how to move and position them without damage," says John R. Williams, a professor in CEE. "The devices we've designed are like acoustic tweezers." Inspired by the complex and beautiful patterns in the sand made by waves, the re- searchers' approach is to use sound waves controlled by machine learning to design complex cell patterns. The engineers devel- oped a computer simulator to create a vari- ety of device designs, which were then fed to an AI platform to understand the relationship between device design and cell positions. "Our hope is that, in time, this AI platform will create de- vices that we couldn't have imagined with traditional ap- proaches," says Sam Raymond, who recently completed his doctorate working with Williams on this project. Ray- mond's thesis title "Combining Numerical Simulation and Machine Learning" explored the application of machine learning in computational engineering. "MathWorks and MIT have a 30-year long relation- ship that centers on advancing innova- tions in engineering and science," says P.J. Boardman, director of MathWorks. "We are pleased to support Dr. Williams and his team as they use new methodologies in simula- tion and deep learning to realize significant scientific breakthroughs." (Source: MIT) Gift Will Allow MIT Researchers to Use Artificial Intelligence in a Biomedical Device

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