By Mark Forbes, Director of Marketing
The vast majority of PCBs in the world today are basically rigid plates to
connect circuitry, but that is changing
rapidly. The demand for flexible PCBs
(or flexible circuits) is rapidly increasing
thanks in large part to the burgeoning
wearable device market. Perhaps the
largest segment of that market is the
healthcare industry where wearable devices will be used to collect all varieties of
physiological data for diagnosis and study,
as well as personal health use. Already,
wearables are available to monitor heart
rate, blood pressure, glucose, ECG, muscle
movement, and more.
Those wearable devices present a
number of difficulties for PCB designers
that rigid boards do not. Here are some
of those problems and what designers
can do to alleviate them.
While every PCB is actually three-dimensional, flexible circuits allow the
entire assembly to be bent and folded
to conform to the package that the
product occupies. A typical assembly
is shown in Figure 1. The flexible circuitry is folded so that the rigid PCBs
fit in the product package, occupying
There is a lot more to the design,
hence the additional challenges, than
Figure 1: In a typical rigid-flex design, the
components mount on rigid boards, which
are interconnected by flexible circuits.
The flex circuits can be bent to install the
assembly into the cabinet or case.
Rigid-flex PCB Design
Solves Wearable Medical
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