Eindhoven, The Netherlands – Since 2005, Philips Research and a growing amount (35) of other industrial partners combine their innovation power at Holst Centre, an open-innovation initiative by imec (B) and TNO (NL), to take technology in the areas of wireless sensors and flexible electronics to the next level. In over 5 years, scientists achieved substantial scientific progress, resulting in several technology breakthroughs. Philips Research was co-author of over 20 of Holst Centre’s patent filings and more than 100 technical notes. Recent successes like the first large-area (30x30cm2) flexible OLED lighting device (developed in the EU project Fast2light), the novel wireless EEG sensing technology and a power conditioning circuit for miniaturized sensors encouraged Holst Centre and Philips Research to prolong their existing collaboration agreement until the end of 2015.
The realization of a large 30x30cm2 flexible OLED is a major step towards substantially thinner and flexible OLEDs. Up to now, OLEDs are made of glass substrates and encapsulated between two layers of glass to protect them from external factors like moisture. In the flexible electronics program at Holst Centre, researchers are working towards replacing both the glass substrate and the encapsulation with flexible foils and thin film layers. This will enable significant reduction of the production costs of OLEDs because the usage of flexible foils enables high speed roll-to-roll fabrication. Thinner and flexible, lightweight OLEDs pave the way towards letting any object in houses or offices emit light, or even customized light patterns.
In the program on wireless sensor technologies, the joint efforts of Philips, Holst Centre and several other partners resulted in a cutting edge sensing technology. With a device that has the look and feel of a regular headphone, consumers will be able to easily measure brain activity (EEG, electro encephalogram) without any special measures. The innovative ‘dry’ sensor eliminates the use of conductive gel, opening up various consumer application opportunities. Philips is currently looking into applications that coach people towards their optimal state of relaxation.
Also, an autonomous inductive boost converter for indoor photovoltaic energy conversion was jointly achieved. The power management chip is, suitable for miniaturized self-powered sensors. The innovative circuit can efficiently charge a battery or super capacitor even in the presence of very low incident light levels.
‘The collaboration output has proven to be most relevant; already several technologies are embedded in either Philips Research or one of the Philips sectors. All the more reason to continue to together drive innovation.’ states Henk van Houten, General Manager Philips Research.
Jaap Lombaers and Bert Gyselinckx, General Managers at Holst Centre: ‘As a partner from the first hour on, Philips Research has had a major stake in Holst Centre’s rapid evolution in the past five years. We’re very proud that some of our technologies now are on their way towards implementation in Philips products. After all, enabling useful implementation by our industrial partners of new, jointly developed technologies is Holst Centre’s reason for being.’
The Holst Centre open innovation business model – based on the successful way of working used by imec – is at the base of the economical and technological progress made over the past years. By bringing together industrial partners from across the value chain (materials suppliers, equipment manufacturers and end users), complementary knowledge is brought together in the Holst Centre programs. This allows participating companies to speed up their innovation and share costs and risks of R&D.