The Obama administration sought for a new level of partnership between the Department of Defense and Silicon Valley. This was realized when Pentagon announced a $171 million public-private partnership with the players of Silicon Valley to produce leading-edge products for the consumer market as well as the battlefield.
FlexTech Alliance a tech research consortium was awarded by the Defense Department with $75 million over the next five years to develop and manage the country’s newest Manufacturing Innovation Institute in San Jose. This is one of the first of several federally funded institutes that will be located in the West Coast. The institute hopes to take advantage of Silicon Valley’s talents so that they can focus on the emerging field of flexible hybrid electronics. These are pliable micro-thin silicon electronic devices that have the capability to transmit date from everything that includes airplane wings to the vital signs of a premature baby.
Other sources like the city of San Jose, companies that include Apple and Lockheed Martin and universities like Stanford and MIT including the State of California are expected to add $96 million to Pentagon’s investment. Washington is now strengthening its ties with Silicon Valley after the revelations that the government has secretly obtained data from its users.
One possible application that may result from the partnership is the “next generation Fitbit”, an app in the form of a patch that can measure body chemistry when you sweat. The micro-thin device is expected to provide several ways of detecting different biomarkers that will show whether an individual is stressed out or over fatigued and if cognition is working well.
The Air Force is interested on the app for its pilots. The sensors can be wrapped around the wing of an aircraft to monitor the functions in extreme temperatures and weather conditions. For the military, the sensors can be wrapped on the tight spots of the automobile engine. Most of these apps in the form of a prototype will be ready to hit the market in the next two or three years. Private companies that will participate will also benefit from the apps created through the brain power of Silicon Valley.