Tampere University of Technology (TUT) and the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland are coordinating Finland's largest research project in the field of stretchable electronics technology and production processes. Stretchable electronics can be integrated, for example, into products that monitor human wellbeing or measure performance as well as medical applications.
Stretchable electronics pave the way for the development of new types of smart clothing and intelligent adhesive patches that clearly outperform similar products that are currently available on the market in terms of comfort, performance and durability.
"Wearable electronics should be as soft and stretchable as the human skin," says Professor Matti Mäntysalo of TUT.
The two-year ELASTRONICS project ("Enabling the future of wearable electronics") sponsored by Business Finland brings together TUT, VTT and partner companies to develop stretchable electronics all the way from the materials and production processes to commercialisation. The project seeks to create not only new business opportunities and export products but also new jobs in Finland.
The consortium includes the companies Inkron, Screentec, Flexbright, Forciot, Suunto, Nexstim and GE Healthcare.
According to VTT's Research Team Leader Teemu Alajoki, Finnish companies are well positioned to thrive in this growing global market.
"Wearable electronics is a global megatrend with great potential in both consumer and healthcare applications. For example, nearly 100 million smartwatches and fitness trackers were sold in 2017 and the global market for wearable medical devices reached 12.7 billion dollars," he says.