SEMI announced today that it has signed a new agreement with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to expand the Nano-Bio Materials Consortium’s (NBMC) work in advancing human monitoring technology innovations for telemedicine and digital health. The program is designed to include $20 million in direct federal funding and $41 million overall in the next six years with additional contributions from state and industry sources. The grant guarantees $7 million of government funds for the first year’s launch of the renewed program.
Drawing on elements of nano-technology and biological research, nano-bio technology is at the core of the expanding field of human performance monitoring and augmentation (HPM/A). Human performance monitoring systems focus on using wearables and table-top devices that monitor blood pressure and glucose, the heart and brain, and other key features of human health to assess physical performance, identify anomalies and help prevent disease.
The expanded NBMC program will focus on research topics such as individual or mission customization, non-intrusive electronics, effects of extreme environments, new material integration (nano-materials, textiles, etc.), and regulatory considerations. Activities will consist of competitively bid research and development (R&D) projects, workshops, conferences, webinars, and extensive gap analysis exercises to determine market needs.
“SEMI is eager to renew NBMC programs and begin working with AFRL, commercial organizations, and universities to identify technology needs, fund research and development, and execute this public/private collaboration,” said Melissa Grupen-Shemansky, Ph.D, NBMC executive director and SEMI CTO. “The NBMC’s continued work will give SEMI members a first-hand understanding of how medical technology innovations will be shaped by advanced electronics and provide the platform for collaboration on R&D projects leading to new products and enabling personalized medicine.”
“Since its inception, NBMC has enabled new industrial and academic communities to engage and team up with AFRL and our mission to deliver new and innovative human monitoring capabilities to the airmen,” said Jeremy W. Ward, Ph.D., NBMC Government Program Manager. “We are eager to continue fostering and growing this community of innovators and to focus R&D on emerging nano-bio materials and technologies for human monitoring to enable solutions for the future monitoring and diagnostic needs of the United States Air Force’s Aeromedical En Route Care mission.”
AFRL awarded the cooperative agreement to SEMI after reviewing competitive responses to a Request for Information followed by a Request for Proposals. Twelve organizations joined SEMI to write the comprehensive proposal: Binghamton University, Brewer Science, Cambridge Display Technology, Dublin City University, GE, Lockheed Martin, Molex, NextFlex, Qualcomm Life Sciences, UCLA Medical School, UES, and the University of Arizona. SEMI and its FlexTech Group have been collaborating with AFRL and its Materials and Manufacturing Directorate to manage NBMC since its launch in 2013.