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Mapping Growth of an Emerging Technology: A Case Study of Flexible Electronics

[+] Author Affiliations
Srikanth Poranki, Nagen Nagarur, Krishnaswami Srihari

Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY

Paper No. InterPACK2009-89315, pp. 301-307; 7 pages
  • ASME 2009 InterPACK Conference collocated with the ASME 2009 Summer Heat Transfer Conference and the ASME 2009 3rd International Conference on Energy Sustainability
  • ASME 2009 InterPACK Conference, Volume 1
  • San Francisco, California, USA, July 19–23, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Electronic and Photonic Packaging Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4359-8 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3851-8
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


Technological innovation is viewed as one of the main economic multipliers. In high-technology sectors, with intense competition and short product life cycles, failure to detect an emerging technology could be devastating to both incumbent technology pursuers and innovators. Firms typically employ methods such as a Delphi method, Technology growth curves or technology road-mapping methods to identify and forecast growth. Some of these methods are based on a life cycle approach where a technology is expected to follow an S-curve and then become obsolete in due time, which is analogous to market diffusion of products. In the case of emerging technologies, forecasting methods are not always reliable due to lack of historical data. Hence, both qualitative and quantitative methods are employed to forecast; however, there are risks associated with both of these methods. A general consensus in technology forecasting community is to apply multiple methods for forecasting. In the last few decades there has been explosion of new technologies, especially in the high-technology sector of electronics. Several new applications such as Large Area Displays (several square feet in area), low cost electronics (e.g. RFID tags being manufactured for pennies or cents per unit) and body conformable electronic applications are a few of a long and growing list. The aforementioned applications could broadly be categorized to form a new and emerging field of electronics called flexible electronics. These applications utilize the rugged lightweight plastics to potentially offer attractive characteristics such as low-cost processing, mechanical flexibility, large area coverage, etc. these characteristics are not easily implemented with established silicon technologies. This research analyzes flexible electronics technology by first identifying a few key innovations. Patent and publications data are collected and technology growth curves based on the indicators would be generated, and compared with those of incumbent technology innovations, to assess technology growth potential. Based on the study, technology adoption strategies would also be recommended by which business leaders could anticipate and plan for the effects of these innovations.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME



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