Apple, Harvard and more team with US gov to make futuristic flexible wearables

US Army

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has announced that Apple will be joining over 160 companies and universities to help develop flexible gadgets that can be worn by soldiers or used on warships.

According to Reuters, Apple will be joining the likes of Boeing and Harvard in the FlexTech Alliance, which is be made up of a total of 162 companies, universities and groups.

The US Air Force Research Laboratory will be managing the FlexTech Alliance, which will contribute $90 million to the project.

The US government is set to contribute US$75 million over five years, while local governments will also be adding funds, with the total FlexTech fund to add up to US$171 million.

The FlexTech Alliance will establish and manage a Manufacturing Innovation Institute for a Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) hub, which will be based in San Jose, California.

"As the epicenter of American innovation, Silicon Valley is uniquely poised to be the leader in advanced manufacturing," Congressman Mike Honda said.

What is FHE?

Defense officials say that Flexible Hybrid Electronics, which is expected to be made using high-end 3D printing tech, will basically be stretchable electronics that can be embedded with sensors, according to Reuters.

The stretchable tech could be worn by soldiers, or even be molded to be used on jets or ships to monitor their structural integrity in real-time.

The tech could also will be used in other sectors, including automotive, communications, consumer electronics, medical devices, health care, transportation and logistics, and agriculture.

"Flexible Hybrid Electronics has the potential to re-shape entire industries, from the electronic wearable devices market, to medical health monitoring systems, to the ubiquitous sensing of the world around us – also known as the Internet of Things," FlexTech Alliance wrote in its announcement.