DALLAS -- The worldwide stretchable electronics market is expected to grow 96% on a compound annual basis through 2023, reaching nearly $1 billion in that timeframe.

Stretchable electronics combines electronic devices and circuits with stretchable substrates. They can be deposited on stretchable materials like silicon or polyurethanes, which are also used in a rigid printed board circuit manufacturing process. Stretchable electronics try to mimic the human skin and flesh in terms of its stretchability and mechanical performance.

Stretchable electronics are being preferred by companies due to their various applications in robotic sensory skins along with wearable communication and bio-integrated devices. In the past few years, extensive research activities have been undertaken to improve the stretchability of circuits on elastomeric substrates. This has led to significant progress; however, the designing of PCB assemblies on elastomers remains a real challenge for manufacturers.

The technology uses standard PCB manufacturing steps and liquid injection moulding techniques to achieve a robust and reliable product. The technology has just started penetrating into the consumer products market in the form of wearable devices and smartphones along with, medical and health-monitoring applications. Additionally, it is also being deployed in defense and industrial applications.

Demand for such products is expected to grow to $911.37 million between 2015 and 2023, says MarketsandMarkets. Although growth of the consumer electronics industry and increased utilization of organic solar cells is driving growth, it is not reaching its full potential due to a lack of innovative and new devices and superior substitute technologies.

North America is the largest market for stretchable electronics and is expected to retain its position till 2023, with the US occupying the major market share. Europe and APAC are also considered to be promising markets, with the said market in Germany and the UK in Europe, and China and Japan in APAC witnessing rapid growth.

Major players include Koninklijke Philips (Netherlands), Adidas (Germany), 3M (US), DuPont (US), BodyMedia(US), PARC (US), Cambrios (US), PowerFilm (US), Physical Optics Communication (US), and MC10 (US).

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