Inventing the future – OE-A hosts printed electronics competition


What do an artificial triceps, a smart gear selector and an indoor air quality meter have in common? Essential parts consist of organic and printed electronics. And they are among the 22 entries taking part in the "OE-A Competition 2021", which the international VDMA working group OE-A (Organic and Printed Electronics Association) organises every year.

Numerous international companies, research institutions and universities take part in the competition every year to present their new products, prototypes, and concepts. The submitted projects are judged by a jury of representatives from well-known international companies and institutes in three categories: "Prototypes & New Products"; "Freestyle Demonstrator"; and "Publicly Funded Project Demonstrator". As every year, all submitted products and demonstrators will be presented to the international community at LOPEC. LOPEC, which will take place this time as an online format from 23 to 25 March 2021.

“We received 22 submissions from 13 countries. We are excited about how many products and prototypes from such diverse fields as medicine, automotive, wearables or smart buildings are taking part in the competition," says Dr Klaus Hecker, managing director of the OE-A.

This year, the expert jury and visitors are once again faced with a difficult choice. Three examples briefly explained:

For "Automotive", Centi (Portugal) is taking part in the competition with a smart gear selector. The demonstrator is an intelligent control panel for an automatic transmission. In the panel, gear selection and lighting functions are integrated into the 3D material structure. Printed electronics enables the reduction of the number of mechanical and electrical parts to seamless design.

Especially during these times, air quality and the CO2 content of the room air are not only a problem during long meetings. With the indoor air quality meter from Rise (Sweden), a printed display shows the rising CO2 content. The demonstrator is also powered by an organic solar cell, making it energy-autonomous. The OPVs (organic photovoltaics) and displays work so efficiently that even the diffuse light indoors is sufficient for operation.

The bionic triceps submitted by the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany), flexes its muscles with the help of printed electronics. The artificial muscles of the model arm are driven by printed dielectric elastomers. The actuator is produced by a modified aerosol jet printing process. The promising material systems, which can be used as actuators, sensors, or generators, offer particular advantages due to their lightweight design and high flexibility.

In addition to visiting the (virtual) exhibition, visitors will also have the opportunity to cast their voice for their favourite demonstrator. All visitors are invited to make their choice for the "Public Choice Award" on the OE-A website. The book "Unfolding Fashion Tech: Pioneers of Bright Futures" by Marina Toeters will be raffled off among all voters. The book offers a hopeful outlook on the future of fashion, textiles and technology. "A virtual walk through the online exhibition is worthwhile. Especially the broad range of submissions to the OE-A Competition, from concept to product, illustrates the potential printed electronics offers," emphasises Klaus Hecker.

The award ceremony for the "OE-A Competition 2021" will take place online this year on 15 April 2021. The winner of the "Public Choice Award" as well as the price winners of the three categories will present their demonstrators at a web seminar.

LOPEC visitors will get a comprehensive insight into printed electronics applications at the virtual OE-A booth at LOPEC 2021. A visit at the OE-A booth is also worthwhile to learn about the latest edition of the OE-A Roadmap, the results of the new business climate survey and the activities of the numerous international working groups. "We will present the many achievements of the OE-A and look forward to welcoming visitors at LOPEC 2021," says Klaus Hecker.

Caption: The Indoor Air Quality Meter from Rise (photo: Rise)

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