Holst Centre and Philips Research celebrate five-year collaboration with new contract

24 October 2011

Since 2005, Philips Research and 35 other industrial partners have combined their innovation power at Holst Centre, an open-innovation initiative by imec and TNO, to take technology in the areas of wireless sensors and flexible electronics to the next level.

In over five years, scientists achieved substantial scientific progress, resulting in several technology breakthroughs. Philips Research was the co-author of over 20 of Holst Centre’s patent filings and more than 100 technical notes.

Recent successes like the first large-area (30cm x 30cm) flexible OLED lighting device (developed in the EU project Fast2light), the wireless EEG sensing technology and a power conditioning circuit for miniaturised sensors encouraged Holst Centre and Philips Research to prolong their existing collaboration agreement until the end of 2015.

The realisation of a large flexible OLED is a major step towards substantially thinner and flexible OLEDs. Up to now, OLEDs have been made from glass substrates and encapsulated between two layers of glass to protect them from external factors such as moisture. In the flexible electronics programme at Holst Centre, researchers are working towards replacing 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 customised light patterns.

In the programme 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 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 miniaturised self-powered sensors. The 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.

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