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Ultra-thin chips flex to fit into garments

Posted: 12 Mar 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:garments circuits? monitoring chips health? chips ultra-thin?

Chips with a thickness of below 60?m could enable manufacturers to design garment with integrated electronic circuits for applications such as health and comfort monitoring. The Belgian research center IMEC has presented a process to manufacture such ultra-thin chips.

The process has been developed by IMEC and an associated laboratory at the Ghent University, and introduced at the Smart Systems Integration Conference in Brussels. The process uses a chip package that allows integrating electronic systems in a low-cost flex substrate, the research institute said.

Before the chip is tested and embedded into the package, it is thinned down to 25?m. The chip package itself is embedded in a double-layer flexible PCB. The institute points out that the process of embedding the chip into the PCB and the PCB itself is based on conventional, cost-effective technologies.

At the conference, IMEC researchers showed a wireless heart rate and muscle activity monitor based on the ultra-thin chip package (UTCP). The prototype system contained MCU with ADC, an ultralow-power biopotential amplifier and an RF transceiver, all integrated in the UTCP. The integration of these systems into apparels is facilitated by the fact that ultra-thin chips become mechanically flexible, making it unobtrusive and comfortable to wear.

- Christoph Hammerschmidt
EE Times Europe

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