BEAVERTON, Ore. (PRWEB) February 05, 2018
Liquid Wire, an early-stage startup producing patent-pending high conductivity gels for fabricating wearable sensors, power and signal transmission on a wide range of textile materials, today announces a follow-on seed-stage investment from the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI). ONAMI’s investment helps Liquid Wire’s initial efforts to commercialize the company’s patent-pending MetalGel™ technology into the $175B technical textiles market.
ONAMI is where academia, business and government come together to accelerate research and bring breakthrough ideas to market. ONAMI leverage funds from the Oregon Legislature in managing the transformation of academic research into commercial success. Some of Oregon’s most successful information technology, biotechnology and life sciences early-stage companies - including Inpria, Energy Storage Systems, NemaMetrix and Valliscor - lead ONAMI’s portfolio.
“Stretchable conductors are the foundation of the rapidly growing technical textiles market,” said Skip Rung, ONAMI President and Executive Director. “We believe Liquid Wire’s Metal Gel™ uniquely enables stretchable conductors for applications from wearable electronics to high-performance sensors for athletic apparel and 3D pressure sensors. And we feel business and product models are ideally suited to deliver the value of MetalGel™ to this dynamic and demanding market.”
ONAMI’s investment follows its initial stake in Liquid Wire, which served to validate MetalGel™’s value proposition for multiple segments of the technical textiles market and funded the Company’s initial marketing program.
Liquid Wire founder and Managing Director Mark Ronay stated, “Liquid Wire is grateful for ONAMI’s continuing support of the Company’s early-stage commercialization and growth. This second round of funding is enabling Liquid Wire to develop multiple customer relationships across the technical textiles industry while we establish a low-volume printed conductor fabrication facility in Beaverton.”
MetalGel™ is a gallium-indium alloy - a well known and non-toxic room temperature liquid metal - subjected to a proprietary chemical process to induce the inorganic analogue of gelification. This process creates a high viscosity and easily wettable metal fluid easily printed and encapsulated onto the surface of elastic membranes. The result: a "liquid wire” capable of deforming within the limits of the substrate upon which it is printed. Changing geometry of the printed traces creates a linearly changing impedance, allowing both DC and AC transducers to be built capable of picking up strains and compressions atop of composite, highly elastic and highly flexible surfaces.
MetalGel™ can be patterned directly onto the surface of elastic membranes to form electroactive structures. The uniquely linear change in conductivity of MetalGel™ under tension or compression enables the incorporation of complex conductors, 2D and 3D sensors, and even highly-efficient RF antennas into the full range of technical textiles for consumer, commercial and industrial uses.
Liquid Wire LLC was founded in 2016 out of a research project into non-traditional printed electronics at Portland State University. The company recently completed material characterization and developed a manufacturing processes of record for low-cost application techniques. Evaluation Kits showcase the unique conductivity and flexibility properties of MetalGel™ while enabling collaboration with academic and industrial researchers on applications ranging from power distribution to biofeedback in wearables.
About Liquid Wire
At Liquid Wire are on a mission to free electronics from rigid plastic substrates while making any pliable surface into a touch and strain sensor.
With room temperature processing and no loss of conductivity through fatigue, our high conductivity gels provide an ideal solution for wearable sensing, power and signal transmission. From silicone rubber to paper to fabric, any material can be conductive and any strain can be detected using our materials and deposition techniques. Liquid Wire is a spinout from Portland State University (pdx.edu) and a portfolio company with the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI). For more information, please visit Liquid Wire’s website at liquidwire.io.