Watch out for stretchable electronic components to become an emerging factor in device development across multiple industries over the next several years, says a new report which labels stretchables a “major paradigm shift.”

IDTechEx, a global research firm based in the U.K., forecasts that various stretchable electronics such as some sensors, circuit boards, cable connectors are already commercially available- or soon will be.

Coming soon are e-textiles, relevant substrates for each, other sensors including smart skins, in-mold electronics, the firm says in its report Stretchable Electronics 2017 – 2027.

[A graphic accompanying this post spells out growth projections in various categories. For a better view of the graphic, see:]

“This major paradigm shift towards novel form factors has been in the making for more than a decade now, yet is only now beginning to make a substantial commercial impact,” the report says. .

Longer-term possibilities include “energy storage and harvesting solutions, new sensor types, displays, transistors and more.”

“These stretchable electronic components will form the basis of new products across a series of industries. In some cases, these products will be novel, as stretchability enables electronics to go where they have not been present before,” the report explains.

“This could be part of skin patches, surgical catheter, within a compression garment or bandage or as a smart skin or novel end effector for a robot. In other cases, stretchable electronics will enhance our existing products, enabling us to add to existing electronic functionality and improve its utility. This could be as an extension to an existing medical device, or a new one in a hospital bedsheet or gown, as a console in a vehicle or in white goods or as other structural electronics, examples of which are beginning to appear today.”

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