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Monday, 3 August 2015

Stretchable Electronics Comes to Market

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Stretchable electronics concerns electrical and electronic circuits and combinations of these that are elastically or inelastically stretchable by more than a few percent while retaining function. For that, they tend to be laminar and usually thin. No definitions of electronics and electrical sectors are fully watertight but it is convenient to consider stretchable electronics as a part of printed electronics, a term taken to include printed and potentially printed (eg thin film) electronics and electrics. This is because the cost, space and weight reduction sought in most cases is best achieved by printing and printing-like technologies.


Commercialization is elusive, though there are some initial adoption such as moldable parts in vehicles and shape changing electroactive polymers for haptic response. New devices also include Reebok's head impact indicator "CheckLight". These are just the beginning, with end users and participants seeing huge potential.


Electronics that are very elastic or deformable without loss of function has seen several hundred million dollars spent by universities on such research so far and more modest tens of millions of dollars has been raised by companies to pursue the opportunity. A notable example of this was the 2012 round of $12.5 million by MC10 in the USA, a company exclusively dedicated to commercialising stretchable electronics. Others are involved in the materials to enable stretchable electronics such as carbon nanotubes.

Market and Territory Analysis

The applications targeted are primarily in healthcare, including health-related monitoring and management for military purposes and sport. About 40% of the research and commercialisation of stretchable electronics takes place in the USA, with the UK, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Korea and Japan, also making a broad impact. This report examines who is bringing what to market and why and it analyses where the most promising opportunities lie. It scopes the emerging stretchable technologies, many of which promise huge improvements, opening yet more potential markets.

Main areas the report covers

The report examines how stretchable technology fits into the electronics and end user markets, the materials and applications that look most promising, and the lessons of success and failure. Profiles of 56 organizations that have made significant advances are provided.



1.1. Forecasts

1.2. Definition and purpose

1.3. Commercial success

1.4. Unbalanced value chain

1.5. Four types of stretchable electronics

1.6. Categories of printed electronics and the place of stretchable

1.7. The three most promising types

1.8. Too much emphasis on healthcare?

1.9. Popular approach of islands

1.10. Extreme stretchability

1.11. Potential benefits

1.12. Activities by organisation

1.13. The market for printed electronics 2013-2023

1.14. The potential significance of flexible and stretchable electronics

1.15. Stretchability in order to manufacture formed parts 

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2.1. Ubiquitous electronics

2.2. Characteristics of the new electronics

2.3. Demographic timebomb

2.4. The evolving toolkit

2.5. Very different from the traditional value chain

2.6. Stretchable electronics

2.7. Stretchable, bendable electronics - a stretchable highway for light

2.8. Foldable electronics

2.9. Removing pressure points from electronic skin patches and bandages

2.10. Printing sensors

2.11. Wide repertoire


3.1. Active monitoring hardware

3.2. Birubin blanket

3.3. Controlling brain seizures

3.4. Epidermal electronics

3.5. Heart monitoring and control

3.5.1. Driving defibrillator and pacemaker implants

3.5.2. Mapping heart action and providing therapy

3.5.3. Bio-integrated electronics for cardiac therapy

3.6. Medical micropackaging

3.7. Monitoring compression garments

3.8. Monitoring babies

3.9. Monitoring shoe insoles of those with diabetes

3.10. Monitoring vital signs with smart textiles

3.11. Stretchable electronic fibers: supercapacitors

3.12. Non-invasive sensing and analysis of sweat

3.13. Renal function monitoring

3.14. Remote monitoring and telemetry of vital signs

3.14.1. Body Area Networks BAN

3.14.2. Skin sensors with telemetry


4.1. Wearable electronics

4.1.1. Energy harvester

4.1.2. Stretchable watch

4.2. Sport and leisure

4.2.1. Electronic eyeball camera

4.2.2. Baseball demonstrator of stretchable transistors

4.3. Automotive electronics

4.4. Haptic actuators for consumer and industrial electronics

4.5. Heating circuits

4.6. Light emitting textiles

4.7. Stretchable supercapacitors 

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