NBMC diagram

I know, “Nano-Bio” sounds like it might be something Mork would say to Mindy, but it’s a serious keystone for just about all future Health Tech products. It refers to the field of nano-biotechnology, which is growing by leaps and bounds in the labs of universities and business large and small, all around the world. It’s a field of new materials, new production processes, and new applications. As the diagram above indicates, it forms the foundation for a wide range of products that will transform the fitness, health, and medical markets in the future.

As with any emerging technology, however, lots of energy and money are required to climb over the threshold that that separates the lab bench from the production line. The Nano-Bio Manufacturing Consortium (NBMC) was created to bring together researchers, engineers, and business development experts in order to speed the development of commercially viable products. The NBMC was formed through the efforts of the FlexTech Alliance, working with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). FlexTech has gathered partners from industry and universities across the United States. FlexTech is uniquely qualified for this task, as it currently spearheads development of flexible and printed electronics in this country. It originally was the U.S. Display Consortium (USDC), which helped promote new display technologies that are familiar today, including OLED panels.

Recently, the NBMC announced funding for a major project to be led by Binghamton University, along with the University of California, Berkeley, and i3 Electronics, Inc. in Endicott, NY. The project aims to build a standard biometric sensor platform that combines a flexible substrate, electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors, temperature sensors, as well as batteries, wireless communications, processor, and other components to make it a complete device. The program also will evaluate the possibility of including an optics-based blood oxygen and pulse sensor. This human performance monitoring (HPM) device has applications for healthy users as well as for diagnostic and treatment plans for individuals with a range of health conditions.

The project is scheduled for completion in early 2015. By giving projects such as this the fast track with funding and access to other resources, the Health Tech wearable industry in this country can accelerate its growth and development.