1. Main
  2. Learn
  3. Industry
  4. Science, Technologies

Pentagon joins Silicon Valley in 'flexible' tech hub

Pentagon joins Silicon Valley in 'flexible' tech hub Pentagon joins Silicon Valley in 'flexible' tech hub

The Pentagon is building a tech hub in Silicon Valley to help create new gadgetry for the supersoldiers of the future as well as tech-savvy consumers, AFP reports.

A plan unveiled Friday called for a new Manufacturing Innovation Institute to be based in San Jose, California to work on new kinds of flexible technology that can be used both on the battlefield or for civilian health, smart homes and cities.

According to the White House, the project seeks to foster "American leadership in manufacturing technologies from smart bandages to self-monitoring weapons systems to wearable devices." 

It brings together the electronics industry and the high-precision printing industry in a "FlexTech Alliance" to create sensors that conform to the curves of a human body or stretch across an object or structure.

The $171 million plan announced by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter will get $75 million in federal funds, and bring together electronics and semiconductor companies like Applied Materials, Apple, United Technologies, Hewlett-Packard and Qualcomm with users of the technology such as Boeing, General Motors, the Cleveland Clinic, Corning and Motorola.

The goal is to make better "flexible" and "bendable" electronic sensors -- the key elements which make objects "smart" and connect to the Internet of Things.

"Flexible hybrid electronics have the power to unleash wearable devices to improve medical health monitoring and personal fitness; soft robotics to care for the elderly or assist wounded soldiers; and lightweight sensors embedded into the very trellises and fibers of roads, bridges, and other structures across the globe," the statement said.

A separate Pentagon statement said these technologies "promise dual use applications in both the consumer economy and the development of military solutions for the warfighter."

  'Investing in innovation' 

The project is the latest effort by the US military to overcome a rift with Silicon Valley and bring the tech sector into its efforts to innovate.

"This is one of my core goals as secretary of defense -- renewing the ties, the bonds of trust between our national security endeavor at the Pentagon, and our wonderful, innovative, open technology community of companies and universities that make up one of America's great strengths," Carter said in comments at Moffett Field in Silicon Valley.

"We're investing aggressively in innovation. We're pushing the envelope with research into new technologies -- on robotics, data science, cybersecurity, biotech, hypersonic engines that can fly over five times the speed of sound, and I could go on."

He added that the program is also "drilling tunnels through that wall that sometimes seems to separate government from scientists and commercial technologists."

Research partners include major US universities such as Stanford; University of California, Berkeley; Harvard; and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The FlexTech team includes more than 160 companies, nonprofits, independent research organizations and universities and will be managed by the US Air Force Research Laboratory.

Carter said he was also stepping up efforts to recruit people with technology skills, and was stopping at the LinkedIn social network "to discuss and learn how DoD can better compete for talented Americans who want to contribute to our mission."

In recent months, the Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security have opened Silicon Valley offices as part of an effort to mend fences after the 2013 leak of classified documents by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and disputes over issues ranging from encryption to surveillance.

Nobel prizewinner proposes a new city in KZ
New abnormal snowfalls expected in Kazakhstan
Huge glacier retreat triggered in 1940s
Hyperloop construction begins in Las Vegas
"Moonlight" to top Spirit Awards nominations
Oil prices fall due to investors uncertainty
New dwarf galaxy discovered around Milky Way
Kanat Islam becomes a top ten WBO boxer
World oil prices continue to rise
Kazakhstan expects warming - Kazhydromet
Merkel to seek fourth term as chancellor
Sale of Tintin drawings set to break records
US, EU stocks fall as markets focus on dollar
Pacific leaders urged to defend free trade
EU warns eight nations on budget deficit
Universiade-2017: Athletic Village is ready
Bob Dylan can't make Nobel ceremony
Messi will never leave Barca - club president
Google, Facebook take aim at 'fake' news
Aerosmith announces Europe 'farewell' tour
Putin, Trump to normalise US-Russia ties
At least 10 hurt in southern Turkey blast
6.2 quake hits western Japan
OPEC agrees shock oil output cut
Israeli ex-president and Nobel laureate Peres dies
Germany blocks WhatsApp data transfers to Facebook
32,000 arrested in Turkey coup probe
Youth to the fore as Milan fashion week opens
Xenophobia threatening peace in eastern Germany
Four-in-10 Japanese are virgins: poll
Sweden re-militarises Baltic island of Gotland
China to launch second space laboratory: Xinhua
More than a billion stars mapped in Milky Way: ESA
Boxing: Golovkin eyes Saunders after stopping Brook
Kazakhstan shifts PM to security chief
Oil prices gain despite rising OPEC supply forecast
US to give Philippines military planes
Singapore wages war on Zika-bearing mosquitoes
Italy quake death toll nears 250
Viral photos add fuel to French burkini debate
18 dead as Italy struck by powerful quake
Japan's first lady visits Pearl Harbor
Pokemon's a no-go on Bangkok's roads
July was Earth's hottest month in modern times
Pakistan rock climbers scale new heights