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By Jeremy Henderson
Published: Mar 5, 2019 2:00:00 PM
Pradeep Lall, John and Anne MacFarlane Professor of mechanical engineering, displays an additive printed flexible circuit in front of the Optomec Aerosol Jet 300 Printer.
NextFlex, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Institute, recognized Pradeep Lall at its recent FLEX conference in Monterey, California, as an individual who has accelerated the growth of the flexible hybrid electronics industry.
Lall, the John and Anne MacFarlane Professor of mechanical engineering, received the NextFlex Fellow Award for his work in advancing the adoption of flexible hybrid electronics in the manufacturing, defense and aerospace industries, as well as in emerging technologies and medical applications.
Lall is the lead inventor of the AU Biometric Band, a flexible wristband that uses a suite of sensors to monitor body functions.
“The band monitors remote workers,” Lall said. “So, for example, someone working in a hazardous environment— they might be wearing this band, which is monitoring physiological functions continuously and transmitting that information to a paired smartphone.”
The job Lall specifically had in mind when designing the Flexible Biometric Band was the inspection of cramped aircraft fuel tanks. Airline safety literature on the topic warns of claustrophobia, which can lead to a heightened pulse rate and lack of consciousness. Other risk factors in the fuel tank environment, such as low levels of oxygen, can lead to myocardial infarction, stroke or even aneurysm.
The AU Biometric Band was recently highlighted in a Voice of America feature filmed during NextFlex’s 2018 Flexible Electronics Conference and Exhibition.
Lall is a member of the founding proposal team for the NextFlex Manufacturing Institute, which focuses in part on the development of additive manufacturing processes for flexible electronics and the development of protocols that test the reliability of flexible electronics.
Auburn University is a Tier-1 founding member the institute.
Lall serves on the institute’s technical and governing councils. He is also director of the National Science Foundation’s Center for Advanced Vehicle and Extreme Environment Electronics Center at Auburn University, which is equipped with additive machinery that can print electronics using aerosol jet and screen printing processes.
“Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering has a high focus on additive manufacturing in both research and teaching with maker spaces capable of both additive metal and plastic printing to complement additive printed flexible electronics,” said Christopher B. Roberts, dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. “The election of Dr. Lall to the position of NextFlex Fellow highlights the high impact that he has made in additive manufacturing of flexible electronics at a national level.”Media Contact: Jeremy Henderson, firstname.lastname@example.org,
At its recent spring meeting, Auburn University’s Research and Economic Development Advisory Board selected Pradeep Lall, the MacFarlane Endowed Professor in Auburn’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, as the 2018 recipient of its Advancement of Research and Scholarship Achievement Award. The award recognizes Lall for his research achievements in the fields of harsh-environment electronics and flexible electronics.
The advisory board is made up of more than 40 industry professionals from across the country who actively support Auburn’s research efforts. The group established the award in 2014 to recognize significant research and scholarly activity that exemplify and advance Auburn’s research and scholarship mission. The recipient of the annual award receives a $25,000 grant to further his or her research.
Lall, director of Auburn’s NSF Center for Advanced Vehicle and Extreme Environment Electronics, is the author or co-author of two books, 14 book chapters and more than 500 journal and conference papers in the field of electronics reliability, safety, energy efficiency, and survivability. He serves on the NextFlex Institute’s technical council and governing council. Lall spearheaded research efforts in flexible electronics and led Auburn’s proposal team for the NextFlex Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Institute.
A fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Lall has received numerous awards for his research. He is the recipient of the IEEE Sustained Outstanding Technical Contributions Award in 2018 and the National Science Foundation Schwarzkopf Award for Technology Innovation in 2016. With significant funding from public-private partnerships, Lall’s work has proven beneficial to the aerospace and automotive industries and in military vehicles and defense systems.
“The Research and Economic Development Advisory Board has made a great choice in honoring Dr. Lall with this award,” said Jennifer Kerpelman, Auburn’s interim vice president for research. “He is a very accomplished researcher with a strong track record, and his work is a great asset to Auburn University,” she added.
Lall’s research focuses on the development of methods for assuring survivability of electronics to high shock forces, vibration and extreme temperatures. He is best known for his research in the areas of reliability and prognostics for electronic systems operating in harsh environments, such as:
- Combined exposure to temperature and vibration under the hood of an automobile for electronics mounted on-engine or on-transmission;
- Extreme cold or extreme hot environmental temperatures for prolonged periods of time experienced in military and defense applications;
- High g-forces experienced by electronics inside missiles;
- Corrosive attack of salt fog for electronics operating on ships at sea.
“Electronic systems have taken an increasingly important role in automotive design and operation,” Lall said. “Traditional automotive electronics at one time consisted of climate control and entertainment systems. Roll the clock forward to the present day, and automotive electronics have expanded to include driving assists such as antilock braking systems, traction control systems, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning systems and more. Failure of one of these systems is no longer an inconvenience; it may be critical to the safe operation of the vehicle.”
Article by: Jonathan Cullum | Office of the Vice President for Research
Pradeep Lall, MacFarlane Endowed Professor at Auburn University, left. receiving the Outstanding Sustained Contributions Award from Avram Bar-Cohen, President of IEEE Electronic Packaging Society at ECTC 2018 in San Diego.
Pradeep Lall, MacFarlane Endowed Professor in department of mechanical engineering, is the 2018 recipient of the IEEE’s outstanding Sustained Technical Contributions Award for outstanding sustained contributions to the design, reliability and prognostics for harsh environment electronics systems.
The award recognized Lall’s seminal contributions to the field of harsh environment electronics. Lall is widely credited with the development of leading indicators of failure for prognostics health management of electronic systems to allow for early identification of faults that may impair system operation. Lall is the author and co-author of over 500 journal and conference papers in the field of electronics reliability, safety, energy efficiency, and survivability.
“This award is recognition of Dr. Lall’s international reputation and the impact of his contributions to state-of-the-art innovation,” said Christopher B. Roberts, dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. “His work has positioned Auburn Engineering to be a leader in harsh environment electronics.”
“Electronics is pervasive in today’s consumer products and many of the functions are safety critical”, Lall said. “Take present day automobiles — electronics enables much of the safety critical circuitry in present-day cars,” Lall said. “Examples include lane-departure warning systems, collision avoidance systems and park and drive assist systems. Given the level of criticality and the need for continued reliable operation, it is important that problems be identified much prior to catastrophic failure. Much of the electronics resides under the hood of the automobile where temperatures and vibration loads are very high. Ensuring survivability for sustained operation of electronics is a continuing evolving challenge with the miniaturization of electronics.”
Lall joined the Auburn faculty in 2002 after a distinguished industry career at Motorola, where he worked on the development and manufacture of wireless products such as cellphones and two-way radios.
Lall is a fellow of the IEEE. The award was conferred at the IEEE Electronic Components and Technology Conference (ECTC), a premier international event attended by more than 1,700 attendees in San Diego in May. Lall received $3,000 and a certificate for his achievements. IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology.
Lall is also a member of the Technical Council and Governing Council of NextFlex and is director of the NSF Center for Advanced Vehicle and Extreme Environment Electronics at Auburn University. He has previously been recognized by the National Science Foundations-IUCRC’s Schwarzkopf Prize for Technology Innovation in 2016. Lall is the recipient of The Alabama Academy of Science Wright A. Gardener Award, the IEEE Exceptional Technical Achievement Award, ASME-EPPD Applied Mechanics Award, SMTA’s Member of Technical Distinction Award, Auburn University’s Creative Research and Scholarship Award, the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering Senior Faculty Research Award, and 20 best paper awards at national and international conferences.
Auburn University’s Flexible Biometric Band was featured at the NextFlex Innovation Day on Aug 9th, 2018 in San Jose, CA. The intended application for the band is for operators working on the inspection and maintenance on aircraft fuel tanks. The fuel tanks are small, confined spaces in the aircraft, which reside in the fuselage and inside the wings of the aircraft. Inspection and maintenance operations require the operators to climb inside the confined space of the fuel tanks. Oxygen levels in a confined space may become depleted due to oxidation or depletion by another gas. The typical concentration of oxygen in the environment is 20.9 percent. When oxygen levels drop from 19.5 percent to 12 percent, judgment is impaired and personnel may experience an increased pulse and fatigue. If levels drop further, from 12 percent to 6 percent, fatigue, nausea and vomiting will occur. A dual-use aspect of the technology may include the following applications: monitoring of vitals of workers in high-heat environments to determine when workers need to come out of the heat before the effects of heat stress become a physical risk factor and monitoring of an individual worker in a hazardous environment
The multi-sensor biomedical band will be worn by the operator working in a confined space and it’s multiple sensors will measure for the loss of blood oxygenation resulting from depletion of oxygen in the environment in the fuel tank, abrupt changes in the pulse rate resulting from anxiety or claustrophobia, loss of consciousness, myocardial infarction, stroke, bradycardia or
aneurysm. Additional sensors can be added if needed to address a broader range of medical conditions. The raw data from the sensors is gathered by the embedded microcontroller on the wearable band through the GPIO and transmitted via the Bluetooth sensor on the USART port of the microcontroller to the paired smartphone. The LifeSaver App is installed on the smartphone and receives the transmitted data via the Bluetooth module and processes the data checking for imminent danger to the operator. If the status is OK, the app continues to monitor silently. However, if the operator is in imminent danger, or in need of medical attention, the app autonomously contacts emergency medical services with the GPS location of the operator and details the condition of the operator and the nature of the medical condition.
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Pradeep Lall, John and Anne MacFarlane professor of mechanical engineering, has received a top award from the National Science Foundation’s Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers program.
Lall received the 2016 Alexander Schwarzkopf Prize for Technological Innovation for his work as director of Auburn University’s Center for Advanced Vehicle and Extreme Environment Electronics, or CAVE3, which partners with industry, government and academic agencies to address major technological challenges through precompetitive research on automotive and harsh environment electronics. Precompetitive research allows the center to address these challenges before the technologies become commercialized.
“This award is reaffirmation of Dr. Lall’s national reputation and recognition of his seminal contributions to the field of mechanical engineering,” said Christopher B. Roberts, dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. “His work has positioned Auburn Engineering to be a leader in harsh environment electronics research as we address the challenges in this exciting field.”
Lall’s research focuses on the development of methods for assuring survivability of electronics to high shock forces, vibration and extreme temperatures. He is best known for his research in the areas of reliability and prognostics for electronic systems operating in harsh environments.
“Electronic systems have taken an increasingly important role in automotive design and operation,” Lall said. “Traditional automotive electronics at one time consisted of climate control and entertainment systems. Roll the clock forward to the present day and automotive electronics have expanded to include driving assists such as antilock braking systems, traction control systems, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning systems and more. Failure of one of these systems is no longer an inconvenience; it may be critical to the safe operation of the vehicle.”
Founded in 1999 as the Center for Advanced Vehicle Electronics, CAVE3 has over the years expanded its expertise to include extreme environment electronics. Lall has been the center’s director since 2008, following his appointment as associate director in 2004. Lall also directs Auburn’s Harsh Environments Node of the NextFlex Manufacturing Institute, part of a national manufacturing effort on harsh environment electronics led by the U.S. Department of Defense.
Lall joined the Auburn faculty in 2002 after a distinguished industry career at Motorola, where he worked on the development and manufacture of wireless products such as cellphones and two-way radios.
“Dr. Lall’s recognition with the Alex Schwarzkopf Prize is evidence of the societal and transformational impact that Auburn University is making on automotive and harsh environment technologies in everyday life,” said John Mason, Auburn’s vice president for research and economic development.
NSF’s cooperative research centers program was established in 1973 by Schwarzkopf to develop long-term research partnerships among industry, academe and government in areas of mutual interest. The Alexander Schwarzkopf Prize for Technological Innovation has been presented annually since 2003 to an individual or team at a member institution whose research makes an exemplary contribution to technology innovation. More than 100 universities and nearly a thousand researchers are members.
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Pradeep Lall, John and Anne MacFarlane professor in Auburn University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, has received the Wright Gardner Award from the Alabama Academy of Science.
Lall joined the Auburn faculty in 2002 as an associate professor after a successful career at Motorola, where he worked on the development and manufacture of wireless products including cellular phones and two-way radios. He is best known for his research in the areas of reliability and prognostics for electronic systems operating in harsh environments. His contributions to the development of methodologies for prognostication of electronics based on leading indicators of failure have been adopted by the automotive industry for development of next generation on-board diagnostic systems.
“I am honored to receive this award and want to thank the Alabama Academy of Science for this recognition,” Lall said. “The award is a testament to the strong research environment at Auburn University which has provided me the opportunity to make a meaningful impact.”
Lall says that his prior experience in the development of manufacturing processes in high-volume environments has enabled him to bring aspects of the electronics manufacturing industry into the classroom and his research at Auburn. Lall serves as director of Auburn’s NSF-CAVE3 Electronics Research Center, which is dedicated to working with industry to develop and implement new technologies for the packaging and manufacturing of electronics.
Lall also leads a national manufacturing effort on harsh environment electronics established at Auburn as part of a U.S. Department of Defense-led flexible hybrid electronics institute called NextFlex.
“Auburn University’s Harsh Environment Node of NextFlex will help catalyze the establishment of a flexible electronics ecosystem in Alabama through the development of technology product demonstrators and workforce training programs to make an impact on the manufacturing economy in Alabama.”
The Wright Gardner Award was established by the Alabama Academy of Science in 1984 to honor individuals whose work during residence in Alabama had been outstanding. Past recipients nominated for this award have included researchers, teachers, industrialists, clinicians, scholars and active members and office bearers of the Alabama Academy of Science.
Auburn University’s Lall to Lead the Harsh Environment Node for Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute
By: Morgan Stashick
Auburn University has been selected to lead a national manufacturing effort on harsh environment electronics as part of a U.S. Department of Defense led flexible hybrid electronics institute.
On Friday, Aug. 28, at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Department of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced a cooperative agreement to the research consortium FlexTech Alliance to establish and manage a Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Flexible Hybrid Electronics, or FHE MII.
FlexTech Alliance, based in San Jose, California, will coordinate the FHE MII, which comprises 96 companies, 11 laboratories and non-profits, 43 universities and 15 state and regional organizations. Auburn University will head the only node in the state of Alabama.
Leading Auburn’s node on harsh environments is Pradeep Lall, the John and Anne MacFarlane endowed professor of mechanical engineering and director of Auburn’s NSF Center for Advanced Vehicle and Extreme Environment Electronics, or CAVE.
“This establishment will provide engineers with the integrated skills and theoretical background for the manufacture of flexible hybrid electronics for extreme environment applications,” said Lall. “It will create intellectual property and expenditures on research, education and related activities, as well as catalyze development of technologies which can be manufactured in the state. We have developed strategic partnerships with industry and research labs in Alabama and nationally for development and demonstration of technologies for harsh environment operation.”
The institute will be awarded $75 million in federal funding over a five-year period and is being matched by more than $96 million in cost sharing from non-federal sources including private companies, universities, not-for-profit organizations and several states, including Alabama.
“The strength of the institute will stem from the strong support and previous work of our partner organizations,” said Michael Ciesinski, CEO of FlexTech Alliance. “Auburn University’s strong work in utilizing electronics in harsh environments will lend the institute a huge advantage in the special needs for that environment. We look forward to collaborating with the excellent team there and the CAVE facility.”
In addition to defense, the institute’s activities will benefit a wide range of markets including automotive, communications, consumer electronics, medical devices, health care, transportation and logistics and agriculture.
“I am pleased that Auburn University is a partner in this national organization, and that Dr. Lall is leading the way for its initiatives on harsh environments,” said Christopher B. Roberts, dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. “The institute represents an innovative collaboration between the public and private sectors and has the potential to make a huge impact on our nation as we continue to embrace advanced manufacturing.”
The new institute is part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation program. The FHE MII is the seventh manufacturing innovation institute announced and the fifth under Department of Defense management. The institutes are intended to bridge the gap between applied research and large-scale product manufacturing, and it is anticipated that Auburn’s harsh environment node will create technologies for the benefit of the nation’s commercial and national defense interests.
Additional Links to Story:
Manufacturing plays a key role in spurring innovation and economic development. The recent call for proposals for the formation of a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation focuses on the topic of Flexible Hybrid Electronics. Auburn University is leading a thematic node on harsh environments on the FlexTech Team in response to the FOA for an IMI on the topic of Flexible Hybrid Electronics. The thematic node team in addition to AU consists of key players from categories of material suppliers, equipment makers and system integrators. Flexible electronics has been identified as one of the frontier goals by the National Academies of Engineering Reports on Leading Edge Engineering in 2013. In order to make flexible electronics possible, processes must meet the demands of soft, pliant and often easily damaged surfaces. Compatibility with delicate surface often requires low temperature processing. There are no large flexible electronics manufacturing firms in the US engaged in large scale commercial manufacturing of products that integrate flexible and printed electronics technologies. Thirty years ago when large corporate laboratories were prevalent, applied research and practical application of science used to be an area of strength in the United States. However, pricing pressures, commoditization of products, and the migration of manufacturing to the Far East has resulted in the downsizing and many cases elimination of the corporate research laboratories. There is a chasm between the laboratory research and the realization of commercialized products. The global flexible electronics industry is in its infancy as scaled up production for commercial applications exists in only a few niche areas including e-paper, RFID tags and organic light emitting diode screens. An IMI in the area of flexible electronics will fill in the void between lab research and commercial products. The semiconductor manufacturing is highly automated, utilizing complex processes developed by multiple vendors which cannot be readily integrated without coordination between players. The manufacturing challenges exist at multiple levels including raw materials, material handling, fabrication and assembly. Processing at low temperatures on conformal bendable, stretchable and foldable substrates is needed or device assembly integration. Adequate survivability in harsh applications will require development of flexible encapsulation approaches in addition to physical packaging and common interconnects and interfaces. Stretchable electronics will need device designs for mitigating the interconnect failures due to fracture and delamination under large deformation and strain. Innovative thermal management schemes are needed to ensure thermal and thermo-mechanical survivability in the presence of multi-material thin-film interfaces. In parallel with the development of manufacturing protocols, it is envisioned that the development of modeling tools and prediction methods is needed to assess the device design, layout, and fabrication parameters. Accelerated test methods and test conditions which have been developed for rigid electronics will need to be scaled to flexible hybrid electronics. The existence of the prior research expertise in the area of harsh environment electronics for automotive and military environments uniquely positions the AU led thematic node to put together a successful IMI-node in the area of flexible hybrid electronics.