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Plextronics To Develop Flexible Electronics For US Army

by Staff Writers
Pittsburgh PA (SPX) Jul 10, 2007
Plextronics has entered into a three-year cooperative agreement with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) to conduct research that will lead to flexible electronic products for soldiers. If funding continues to be available through the Department of Defense over the next three years, the agreement is worth up to $14.2 million.

Included in the 2007 Department of Defense appropriations bill, an appropriation of $1 million will be made available to Plextronics immediately for the first year of the project. If the program funding continues in years two and three, the company will seek additional government appropriations estimated at more than $8.4 million. During the program, Plextronics will also commit $4.7 million in cost-share expenses.

"It's an honor to have this opportunity to work with ARL and make advances in flexible electronics technology that could literally change the way our military communicates," said Andy Hannah, president and CEO of Plextronics. "As a company, we've always made it a point to focus on products and technology that have the ability to make a significant impact, and this project certainly reflects that mandate."

The cooperative agreement between ARL and Plextronics establishes the Flexible Electronics Research Initiative (FERI). FERI will focus on the advancement of material and device technology for flexible electronics, which offers benefits particularly relevant to military applications. The resiliency of these devices, for example, could increase the lifetime and reliability of current display applications in harsh environments.

Some of the technologies and products that this research could lead to also include:
+ Real-time maps and displays that continually receive electronic data and information, yet are durable and flexible enough to be rolled up and stored in soldiers' backpacks.

+ Displays that are directly contoured onto a soldier's uniform, offering the ability to turn a shirt or jacket cuff into an information displaying device.

Shawn Williams, vice president of technology at Plextronics, said, "Using flexible electronics will literally take weight off our soldiers' backs. They are carrying heavy equipment, laptops and batteries now, and all of that can change with the new applications that are possible using this technology."

According to Dr. Eric Forsythe, cooperative agreement manager for the ARL on the project, the Army was eager to begin collaborating with Plextronics. "We are looking forward to working with Plextronics to create and refine technology that will directly benefit our soldiers," he said. "Using the Plexcore(TM) technology, we can explore new printed electronics applications specifically designed for the military."

Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, the senior senator from Pennsylvania, commented, "This technology not only has the potential to benefit our soldiers worldwide, but Pennsylvania will also feel the impact of the cooperation between ARL and Plextronics. The funding will help Plextronics to add critical jobs to the region and will enable Southwestern Pennsylvania to continue to be a leader in developing electronics materials."

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DRS Tech Gets Contract To Supply Marine Corps With Rugged Tablet Computers
Parsippany NJ (SPX) Jul 10, 2007
DRS Technologies has received a $5 million award as part of a previous contract to provide military rugged tablet (MRT) computers and peripheral equipment for the U.S. Marine Corps' Target Location Designation Handoff System (TLDHS) program. DRS received the order from Stauder Technologies in St. Peters, Missouri. For this contract the company's DRS Tactical Systems business unit in Melbourne, Florida, will produce hundreds of the handheld MRT computers and peripheral equipment.

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