Brainstorming Materials Engineering Opportunities in Life Sciences


Over the past few years, we have seen radical changes in how healthcare is conceptualized and delivered at both the user and enterprise level. Fitness wearables have popularized the idea of quantifying health on the level of the individual. At the same time, many hospitals are adopting app-based approaches to managing workflows. And medical practitioners such as pathologists see a role for deep learning in radically improving diagnostics.
Applied Materials has the ability to unlock entirely new information-based approaches to health and medicine by providing the atomic-level backbone for these technologies. But building these new capabilities will only be possible through collaboration with industry, academia and government. It will require us to embrace new business models, human-centered design principles, and new technological certification and regulatory standards. These new approaches cannot be developed in a vacuum—deep engagement with both traditional and non-traditional partners will be critical.
As a step in building these relationships, we invited top-tier bio-entrepreneurs from San Francisco’s QB3 incubator to tour our Display Applications Lab in Santa Clara and pitch their promising technologies. QB3 is the University of California’s hub for innovation and entrepreneurship in the life sciences, with a track record of delivering major life science innovations.
Leaders from Applied’s business units also discussed their capabilities, and the opportunity to reflexively brainstorm with cutting-edge bio-entrepreneurs made the demand for materials engineering innovations clear. What was most exciting was the ability of QB3 and Applied participants to envision projects where coupling great science with great engineering could create new growth opportunities. For example, many medical wearables will need to be placed closer to the sensory area of interest for higher accuracy and precision as opposed to a generic wrist-worn wearable. To achieve this objective, the wearable sensors need to have a flexible form factor and be able to conform to the human body. This represents a perfect example where Applied’s large-area, thin-film technology could be leveraged to create a whole new class of sensors.
As an organization committed to the concept of open innovation, Applied will continue exploring collaboration opportunities with organizations like QB3 and others to accelerate learning, advance new and disruptive technologies, and expand the markets for our innovations.