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Market Research Report

Stretchable and Conformal Electronics 2019-2029

Published by IDTechEx Ltd. Product code 314816
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Stretchable and Conformal Electronics 2019-2029
Published: October 4, 2018 Content info: 401 Slides

Stretchable and Conformal Electronics 2019-2029
Materials, components, products and 10-year market outlook.

This report provides you with everything that you need to know about stretchable electronics. It provides the most comprehensive and insightful view of this diverse emerging industry, discussing each of the different stretchable materials/components available and/or being developed today, referencing over 60 product types that may integrate stretchable electronics, covering the progress of more than 100 companies and 25 research institutes including first-hand primary research on 62 companies, and providing ten-year market forecasts segmented by more than 14 material/component areas.

This report develops a critical technology assessment for a vast array of emerging stretchable electronic materials and components. Prominent options today include stretchable sensors and stretchable connectors (including conductive inks, yarns/cabling, stretchable PCBs and more). More emerging options including actuators, logic/transistors, energy harvesting and energy storage (batteries, supercapacitors, etc.). Our forecasts are segmented by 14 different stretchable component types. The report also discusses drivers and product types around various end user markets, including applications in healthcare, automotive, industrial and consumer applications.

Technology insight and business intelligence based on years of primary research

This report is the result of years of global primary research on stretchable electronics itself, but also on its constituent elements and target applications. For example, IDTechEx analysts have covered topics such as conductive inks, in-mold electronics, electronic textiles, flexible/stretchable printed circuit boards, wearable technologies, stretchable sensors, stretchable transparent conductive films, structural electronics and more.

In the past three years alone, we have met and/or interviewed at least 60 companies active in the value chain of stretchable electronics, attended more than 20 conferences/tradeshows across the world where stretchable electronic products were discussed/exhibited, and delivered multiple tailored consulting projects. In addition, the IDTechEx Show! is a biannual conference and tradeshow focused on electronics with new form factors. Organising this event for the past decade allows IDTechEx to stay closely connected to the entire ecosystem, including all of the leading players as the industry has evolved.

Stretchable Electronics: enabling the future of electronics

The electronic industry is in the midst of a major paradigm shift: novel form factors are emerging ranging from limited flexibility to ultra-elastic and conformable electronics. This transfiguration has been in the making for more than a decade now, but is only now beginning to make a substantial commercial impact. This is not an incremental shift along well-established industry lines. Instead, it seeks to create new functions, new applications, and new users. As such, this technology frontier currently only has vague figures-of-merit and limited insight on customer needs.

Many opponents have long argued that this entire class of emerging materials/devices is a classic case of technology-push: a solution looking for a problem. This view may have been justified in the early days, but we now see this trend as an essential step towards the inevitable endgame of new electronics: structural electronics. This is a disruptive megatrend that will transform traditional electronics from being components-in-a-box into truly invisible electronics that are structurally integrated where needed. This is a major long-term theme that will lead to a root-and-branch change in the electronics industry including materials, components and the entire value chain. Stretchable and conformable electronics is giving shape to this megatrend. Indeed, it enables it.

Out of the lab and into the market

Stretchable Electronics is an umbrella term that conceals great diversity. It refers to a whole host of emerging electronic materials, components and devices that exhibit some degree of mechanical strain tolerance or "stretchability". These include interconnects, sensors, actuators, functional films, batteries, logic, displays, etc. each of which is covered in detail within the report. Therefore, the overall term covers technology options which span the entire technology readiness scale. Some stretchable electronic components are already entering various markets, whereas others remain at early proof-of concept stages. Whilst the overall theme remains, IDTechEx expects that the individual stories within the sector will fragment, with some becoming commercially successful and others remaining largely academic curiosities.

This ship is beginning to sail now. Indeed, we anticipate that in many cases the winners will emerge within the next 3-5 years. This is why companies now need to urgently establish a closer collaboration between their commercial and research units, and should follow a strategy of touching upon as many nascent application spaces as their bandwidth allows to garner feedback, offer customized solutions, and fine-tune their research direction. In this report we provide a critical assessment of all the existing and emerging technologies. You will learn about the technology readiness levels, latest performance levels, unsolved technical challenges, late-stage or commercial prototypes and associated application targets. You will also learn about the emerging global business ecosystem pushing each technology.

No longer just a solution looking for a problem

Structural electronics is no longer just a solution looking for a problem. Indeed, it is finding commercial use in both niche applications in hard-to-find sectors as well as in high-volume visible products. It delivers strong value in multiple applications, at times as an enabling technology, whilst it remains an unessential or underperforming solution amongst many in others. The application space therefore also cannot be painted with a broad brush as it is diverse and fragmented. The success will be in the detail.

This report provides a detailed pipeline of applications. It covers both niche and mainstream use cases. It critically assesses the latest developments within each sector including latest commercial products, late-stage prototypes, market challenges, anticipated growth and so on.

  • 1. Critical review and appraisal of all the existing and emerging stretchable electronics materials and components including stretch sensors, stretchable ink-, yarn-, or wire-based interconnects, stretchable transparent conductive films, stretchable PCBs, energy harvesters, batteries, supercapacitors, encapsulates, substrates, and so on.
  • 2. Analysis of target markets including value proposition, market/technical challenges, real examples of latest products/prototypes, and market forecasts.
  • 3. Ten-year market forecasts segmented by end market (automotive, health care & medical, sports & fitness; consumer; automation; and so on), product type (robotics, skin patches, apparel and non-apparel electronic textiles, and so on), or component (resistive, capacitive, and dielectric elastomer stretch sensors; ink, yarn and wire-based interconnects; inks and transparent conductive films for inks; stretchable transistors, displays, actuators, and so on)
  • 4. Coverage and/or profiles of more than 60 companies based on primary research including in-person visits, interviews, tradeshow/conference interactions and so on.

Analyst access from IDTechEx

All report purchases include up to 30 minutes telephone time with an expert analyst who will help you link key findings in the report to the business issues you're addressing. This needs to be used within three months of purchasing the report.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


  • 1.1. The evolving form factor of electronics
  • 1.2. Technology Readiness Chart: by technology
  • 1.3. Number of products containing stretchable electronic features
  • 1.4. Revenue from stretchable electronics


  • 2.1. Definitions and inclusions
  • 2.2. Stretchable electronics: Where is the money so far?
  • 2.3. Why do we need stretchable electronics?
  • 2.4. Characterising a stretchable substrate
  • 2.5. Conformal electronic functionality on custom shapes
  • 2.6. Smart skin
  • 2.7. Megatrends
  • 2.8. The megatrend towards ubiquitous electronics
  • 2.9. Our ubiquitous electronics will be stretchable
  • 2.10. Technology Readiness Chart: by technology


  • 3.1. Electronic Textiles (E-Textiles)
  • 3.2. Most conductive fibres are not stretchable (with exceptions)
  • 3.3. Examples of traditional conductive fibres
  • 3.4. Academic exceptions: UT, Dallas: SEBS / NTS stretchable wires
  • 3.5. Academic exceptions: Sungkyunkwan University - PU & Ag nanoflowers
  • 3.6. Academic exceptions:MIT: Stretch sensors using CNTs on polybutyrate
  • 3.7. Yarns for stretchable electronics
  • 3.8. Commercial wire-based stretchable yarns
  • 3.9. Hybrid yarns can be conductive, elastic and comfortable
  • 3.10. Conductive yarns from Natural Fibre Welding
  • 3.11. Stretchable electronic fabrics
  • 3.12. Examples of stretchable electronic fabric components
  • 3.13. Teijin: Piezoelectric yarns for e-textiles
  • 3.14. Teijin: electronics-on-a-pin for e-textiles
  • 3.15. ITU: stretchable Ag NW fibres
  • 3.16. Stretchable fabrics in e-textiles today
  • 3.17. Design trends to accommodate stretchable electronics


  • 4.1. Stretchable inks: general observations
  • 4.2. Stretchable conductive inks on the market (Jujo Chemical, Ash Chemical, EMS/Nagase, Toyobo, DuPont, Henkel, Panasonic, Taiyo, Cemedine, and so on)
  • 4.3. Performance of stretchable conductive inks
  • 4.4. Evolution and improvements in performance of stretchable conductive inks
  • 4.5. The role of particle size and resin in stretchable inks
  • 4.6. The role of pattern design in stretchable conductive inks
  • 4.7. Washability for stretchable conductive inks
  • 4.8. DuPont: latest progress in stretchable conductive inks
  • 4.9. Encapsulation choice for stretchable inks
  • 4.10. The role of the encapsulant in supressing resistivity changes
  • 4.11. The role of a common substrate for stretchable inks in e-textiles
  • 4.12. Graphene-based stretchable conductive inks
  • 4.13. Graphene heaters in electronic textiles
  • 4.14. Examples of stretchable conductive inks in e-textiles
  • 4.15. Examples of e-textile sports products made using conductive yarns
  • 4.16. PEDOT-impregnated fabric for e-textiles
  • 4.17. CNT heaters for photovoltaic defrosting
  • 4.18. DuPont: Application Examples


  • 5.1. What is in-mold electronics?
  • 5.2. IME: 3D friendly process for circuit making
  • 5.3. What is the in-mold electronic process?
  • 5.4. Comments on requirements
  • 5.5. Conductive ink requirements for in-mold electronics
  • 5.6. New ink requirements: stretchability
  • 5.7. Evolution and improvements in performance of stretchable conductive inks
  • 5.8. Performance of stretchable conductive inks
  • 5.9. The role of particle size in stretchable inks
  • 5.10. The role of resin in stretchable inks
  • 5.11. New ink requirements: portfolio approach
  • 5.12. Diversity of material portfolio
  • 5.13. New ink requirements: surviving heat stress
  • 5.14. New ink requirements: stability
  • 5.15. All materials in the stack must be reliable
  • 5.16. Design: general observations
  • 5.17. Expanding range of functional materials Here we will show that IME compatible functional materials are progressing beyond just conductive inks
  • 5.18. Stretchable carbon nanotube transparent conducting films
  • 5.19. Prototype examples of carbon nanotube in-mold transparent conductive films
  • 5.20. Prototype examples of in-mold and stretchable PEDOT:PSS transparent conductive films
  • 5.21. In-mold and stretchable metal mesh transparent conductive films
  • 5.22. Other in-mold transparent conductive film technologies
  • 5.23. Beyond IME conductive inks: adhesives
  • 5.24. Towards more complex devices such as sensors, actuators and displays
  • 5.25. Beyond conductive inks: thermoformed polymeric actuator?
  • 5.26. Thermoformed 3D shaped reflective LCD display
  • 5.27. Thermoformed 3D shaped RGD AMOLED with LTPS
  • 5.28. Molding electronics in 3D shaped composites
  • 5.29. Overview of applications, commercialization progress, and prototypes
  • 5.30. In-mold electronic application: automotive
  • 5.31. White goods, medical and industrial control (HMI)
  • 5.32. Is IME commercial yet?
  • 5.33. First (ALMOST) success story: overhead console in cars
  • 5.34. Commercial products: wearable technology
  • 5.35. Automotive: direct heating of headlamp plastic covers
  • 5.36. Automotive: human machine interfaces
  • 5.37. White goods: human machine interfaces
  • 5.38. Functional material suppliers
  • 5.39. In mold electronics: emerging value chain
  • 5.40. Stretchable conductive ink suppliers multiply
  • 5.41. IME conductive ink suppliers multiply
  • 5.42. Competing Technologies
  • 5.43. Printing directly on a 3D surface?
  • 5.44. Aerosol: how does it work?
  • 5.45. Applications of aerosol
  • 5.46. Optomec: update on market leader
  • 5.47. Molded Interconnect Devices: Laser Direct Structuring
  • 5.48. Applications of laser direct structuring
  • 5.49. Printed PCB: Progress towards rapid PCB prototyping using Ag nanoparticle inks
  • 5.50. Printed PCB: New comers enter into 3D printed electronics
  • 5.51. Transfer printing: printing test strips & using lamination to compete with IME
  • 5.52. IME with functional films made with evaporated lines
  • 5.53. Benchmarking different processes (IME, MID, 3DP, aerosol)


  • 6.1. Substrate choice for stretchable electronics
  • 6.2. Panasonic's stretchable insulating resin film with electronic circuits
  • 6.3. Nikkan Industries: Stretchable substrate as alternatives to TPU
  • 6.4. Panasonic: stretchable substrate


  • 7.1. Introduction
  • 7.2. High-strain sensors (capacitive)
  • 7.3. Use of dielectric electroactive polymers (EAPs)
  • 7.4. Players with EAPs: Parker Hannifin
  • 7.5. Players with EAPs: Stretchsense
  • 7.6. Players with EAPs: Bando Chemical
  • 7.7. C Stretch Bando: Progress on stretchable sensors
  • 7.8. Other force sensors (capacitive & resistive)
  • 7.9. Force sensor examples: Polymatech
  • 7.10. Force sensor examples: Sensing Tex
  • 7.11. Force sensor examples: Vista Medical
  • 7.12. Force sensor examples: InnovationLab
  • 7.13. Force sensor examples: Tacterion
  • 7.14. Force sensor example: Yamaha and Kureha
  • 7.15. Force sensor examples: BeBop Sensors
  • 7.16. Stretchability within skin patch sensors
  • 7.17. Example: Stretchability in chemical sensors
  • 7.18. Example: Stretchability in body-worn electrodes
  • 7.19. Academic examples: UNIST, Korea
  • 7.20. Academic examples: Stanford University
  • 7.21. Academic examples: Bio-integrated electronics for cardiac therapy
  • 7.22. Academic examples: Instrumented surgical catheters using electronics on balloons


  • 8.1. Thermoformed polymeric actuator?
  • 8.2. Kurary: flexible transparent piezoelectric actuator films


  • 9.1. Realization of batteries' mechanical properties
  • 9.2. Material-derived stretchability
  • 9.3. Comparison between flexible and traditional Li-ion batteries
  • 9.4. Device-design-derived stretchability
  • 9.5. Cable-type battery developed by LG Chem
  • 9.6. Electrode design & architecture: important for different applications
  • 9.7. Large-area multi-stacked textile battery for flexible and rollable applications
  • 9.8. Stretchable lithium-ion battery - use spring-like lines
  • 9.9. Foldable kirigami lithium-ion battery developed by Arizona State University
  • 9.10. Fibre-shaped lithium-ion battery that can be woven into electronic textiles
  • 9.11. Stretchable Supercapacitors


  • 10.1. Stretchable capacitive energy harvesting up to 1 kW?
  • 10.2. Stretchable triboelectric energy harvesting
  • 10.3. Piezoelectric nano-generators


  • 11.1. Stretchable or extremely flexible circuit boards
  • 11.2. Examples of thin and flexible PCBs in wearable and display applications
  • 11.3. Examples of thin and flexible PCBs in various applications
  • 11.4. Printed pliable and stretchable circuit boards
  • 11.5. Stretchable meandering interconnects
  • 11.6. Stretchable printed circuits boards
  • 11.7. Examples of fully circuits on stretchable PCBs
  • 11.8. Stretchable Electronics from Fraunhofer IZM
  • 11.9. Stretchable actually-printed electronic circuits/systems
  • 11.10. Island approach to high-performance stretchable electronics
  • 11.11. Examples


  • 12.1. Strategies towards stretchable backplanes and displays
  • 12.2. Towards stretchable backplanes, displays, and lighting: Intrinsically stretchable materials
  • 12.3. Stretchable electrophoretic display
  • 12.4. Giant stretchability in electroluminescent (EL) light sources
  • 12.5. Highly stretchable electroluminescent light
  • 12.6. Stretchable polymeric LEC
  • 12.7. Highly stretchable SWCNT thin film transistors
  • 12.8. Highly stretchable printed TFT for OLED displays
  • 12.9. Fully stretchable organic thin film transistors
  • 12.10. Stretchable displays
  • 12.11. Towards stretchable backplanes, displays, and lighting sources: Rigid islands connected by stretchable regions
  • 12.12. Stretchable passive-matrix RGB LED display
  • 12.13. A fully printed stretchable platform for electronics including LED matrix displays
  • 12.14. General procedures of making high performance IGZO TFT on highly flexible substrate
  • 12.15. Highly stretchable IGZO TFTs on stiffness-graded substrates
  • 12.16. High performance IGZO TFTs with 50% stretchability
  • 12.17. Towards stretchable backplanes, displays, and lighting: Wavy and/or pre-stretched substrates
  • 12.18. Ultrathin stretchable polymeric OLED display
  • 12.19. Highly stretchable IGZO TFTs on wavy elastomeric substrates


  • 13.1. Stretchable thin film transistors
  • 13.2. Crystalline stretchable high-performance circuits
  • 13.3. Examples of crystalline stretchable high-performance circuits
  • 13.4. Latest progress with electronic skin
  • 13.5. Artificial skin sensors based on stretchable silicon
  • 13.6. Stretchable LED lighting arrays
  • 13.7. Ultra-thin flexible silicon chips
  • 13.8. Ultra thin silicon wafers: top-down thinning
  • 13.9. Ultra thin silicon wafers: Silicon-on-Insulator
  • 13.10. Ultra thin silicon wafers: ChipFilmTM approach


  • 14.1. Key markets for stretchable electronics
  • 14.2. Skin patches
  • 14.3. Apparel
  • 14.4. Other textile applications
  • 14.5. Medical devices
  • 14.6. Consumer electronic devices
  • 14.7. Market pilots with early prototypes
  • 14.8. The EC STELLA project
  • 14.9. Pressure monitoring in an insole
  • 14.10. Compression garments
  • 14.11. Wireless activity monitor


  • 15.1. Number of products containing stretchable electronic features
  • 15.2. Number of products: stretchable sensors
  • 15.3. Number of products: stretchable connectors
  • 15.4. Number of products: emerging stretchable components
  • 15.5. Number of products: in mold electronics (IME)
  • 15.6. Revenue from stretchable electronics
  • 15.7. Revenue: Stretchable sensors
  • 15.8. Revenue: Stretchable connectors
  • 15.9. Revenue: Emerging stretchable components
  • 15.10. Revenue: In mold electronics


  • 16.1. Agfa
  • 16.2. Bando Chemical
  • 16.3. Bebop Sensors
  • 16.4. Breath
  • 16.5. Canatu
  • 16.6. Chasm
  • 16.7. Clothing+ (Jabil)
  • 16.8. CorTec GmbH
  • 16.9. DuPont
  • 16.10. EMS/ Nagase
  • 16.11. Forciot Ltd
  • 16.12. Forster Rohner Textile Innovations
  • 16.13. Fujifilm
  • 16.14. Fujikura Kasai
  • 16.15. Henkel
  • 16.16. Heraeus
  • 16.17. Hexoskin
  • 16.18. Hitachi Chemical
  • 16.19. Holst Centre
  • 16.20. Infinite Corridor Technology
  • 16.21. Liquid Wire
  • 16.22. mc10
  • 16.23. Nagase
  • 16.24. Ohmatex
  • 16.25. Panasonic
  • 16.26. Piezotech
  • 16.27. Poly-Ink
  • 16.28. Polymatech
  • 16.29. Sensing Tex
  • 16.30. Showa Denko
  • 16.31. StretchSense
  • 16.32. Tactotek
  • 16.33. Textronics (adidas)
  • 16.34. T-Ink
  • 16.35. Toray
  • 16.36. Toyobo
  • 16.37. University of Tokyo
  • 16.38. Vista Medical
  • 16.39. Wearable Life Sciences


  • 17.1. List of 25 universities mentioned in this report
  • 17.2. List of 87 companies mentioned in this report
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