By Joanna BradleyJune 18, 2019
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (May 2, 2019) - The field of flexible hybrid electronics is innovative, integrating advanced manufacturing techniques to enable seemingly impossible designs to come to fruition.
One employee at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center is using his expertise in FHE to further development efforts in the field.
Bruce Hughes, an electronics engineer and subject matter expert, has worked for the CCDC AvMC for 11 years and has served as a matrixed employee with the Joint Attack Munitions Systems Project Office with Program Executive Office Missiles and Space. Hughes has a collective 25 years of experience in the field of electronics and, now, he can add NextFlex Fellow to his resume.
NextFlex is the nation's FHE National Manufacturing Innovation Institute, established in 2015 by a $75 million Department of Defense investment. To become a fellow, Hughes said one must meet certain nomination and selection criteria based on demonstrated technical knowledge, creative problem solving, innovation, technical leadership, mentoring, and overall technical vision.
"It's very flattering to have been selected as a Fellow within NextFlex," said Hughes, who was one of nine people selected this year. "Especially when you consider the expertise and caliber of people (who) are involved with NextFlex."
FHE uses various techniques to garner desired results, such as additive manufacturing and state-of-the-art silicon thinning and handling techniques. "The potential applications are really limited only by the imagination and creativity of the designer," said Hughes.
According to Hughes, FHE applications can directly impact the health and performance of the Warfighter through "wearable conformal electronics," which use advanced sensors to "analyze the bio markers within sweat from an individual's skin to determine physical condition and then administer medicine if needed."
For the past five years, Hughes has been involved with NextFlex as the government lead for the Device Integration and Packaging Technical Working Group and is a member of the technical council. "During this time, I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to develop several patents in the areas of conformal printed circuit board technology, as well as FHE technology," Hughes said.
"Mr. Hughes is a valuable member of the Manufacturing Science and Technology division," said Amy Lawrence, CCDC AvMC Engineering Directorate's MS&T division chief. "He is the recognized expert across the Army and industry in FHE, and is regularly called upon for advice and consult in that area."
Hughes also serves as both a member and committee chair within IPC-Association Connecting Electronic Industries® and The Joint Electron Device Engineering Council, and sits on the Joint Defense Manufacturing Technology Electronics subpanel within the DoD.
The CCDC Aviation & Missile Center, formerly known as the Aviation & Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, which conducts responsive research, development and life cycle engineering to deliver the aviation and missile capabilities the Army depends on to ensure victory on the battlefield today and tomorrow. Through collaboration across the command's core technical competencies, CCDC leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our Nation's wars and come home safely. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.