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Flexpoint Reviews Bend Sensor Technology Developments

May 9, 2007

The update examines application advances in a wide range of market segments.


DRAPER, Utah /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- Flexpoint Sensor Systems Inc. commented on its advancing technology in the automotive, industrial, and medical industries.

The company has nearly a dozen automotive applications identified, but the Bend Sensor's potential in this industry is nearly limitless. Anywhere a switch is needed, whether it is a control for seat, window, or horn switches and radio buttons, the sensors can meet the need. Over the past year, the company has worked on a number of applications at the request of auto manufacturers and suppliers.

Flexpoint's Pedestrian Impact Detection System remains at the forefront of the automotive division. The company is working with multiple automotive suppliers or OEM's that are testing the Bend Sensor for use in pedestrian impact–detection applications. The system has undergone various phases of analysis and was submitted to MGA Research for independent confirmation of its ability to meet the rigorous safety standards required by the automobile industry. Flexpoint announced a Joint Testing Program with Faurecia in an effort to bring automotive products to production. Faurecia is the second largest automotive parts supplier in the European Union.

A similar use for the Bend Sensor is as an impact sensor attached to the surface of an automobile shell to detect impact in an accident. A series of sensors are mounted in strategic places on the side and door panels to detect an impact, as well as the speed, direction, and force of the impact. This allows an onboard computer to deploy side airbags where needed. The sensor in an impact situation is very unique in that it is able to give an accurate reading within a fraction of a millisecond and works very reliably over the life of the vehicle in all types of harsh environments.

Flexpoint is currently working with several automotive manufacturers and tier one suppliers on the testing and design of applications for sensors in automobile seats. These applications include the use of the sensor as a passenger presence petection device, which is used to detect objects in the front passenger seats, and as a seat belt reminder (SBR), to remind the occupant to fasten their seat belt with a tone or visual indicator. The company expects to be entering joint testing programs on these products in the near future.

Expanding on the use of the Bend Sensor as a SBR is the combination seat heater and SBR. This system adds more value to the sensor and capitalizes on Flexpoint's manufacturing expertise. To the company's knowledge, this is a unique combination of a seat heater and SBR device. The company developed a seat heater that will heat to the appropriate temperatures using the power levels available in an automobile. The advantage of a printable heater is that it can also be included on the same SBR sensor. A developed prototype of this device has been shipped to prospective customers for further testing.

Complementing the external and seat technologies are sensors used in the steering assembly. Flexpoint holds two patents relating to Horn Switches. The current horn system has several problems, including the placement of the horn sensor, which Flexpoint believes it has solved with its patented application.

Flexpoint has developed an auto seat passenger-classification device that uses a series of sensors in an automobile seat to sense whether an object on a seat is a human being and whether it is a child or an adult. By automatically sensing and correctly categorizing a car's passengers, our sensors can distinguish between an object, an infant car seat, a child, or an adult passenger and are capable of deactivating an air bag when a person under 60 pounds or a car seat is in the seat. This allows the airbag to deploy in a fashion so as to improve the safety of the passenger. The market opportunity for these applications is substantial, considering a market of 19,000,000 vehicles in North America and 70,000,000 worldwide.

Another potential major market for Flexpoint is the medical industry. Flexpoint continues moving forward on its medical-bed application. R&D Products has identified a manufacturer and distribution partner. R&D Products has asked Flexpoint to take an aggressive approach in the negotiations of an agreement and working directly with the manufacturer to meet their production specification requirements. Flexpoint does not control the sale or marketing of the bed. It is merely the supplier of the sensors, but the company is prepared to enter production of this sensor upon receiving a purchase order from R&D Products.

In the Industrial Controls Division, Flexpoint anticipates that the Bend Sensor flow meter, which is being jointly developed with Precision Pumping Systems Inc., will enter the marketplace late this summer.

The final calibration and development of the flow meter is currently underway, and Precision Pumping Systems Inc. is expected to begin marketing the device later this summer. The initial field-testing of the device is proving its accuracy and reliability, and the two companies are moving forward to a final production ready model.

The development of this flow meter has lead to expanded uses of the technology and the development of a new compact version of the flow meter. The compact version broadens the range of applications for the Bend Sensor by incorporating its technology into a flow switch. Potential uses include any application where it is important to determine whether flow is taking place. The uses for this product are varied amongst all industries, and are as great as the need for accuracy and efficiency in today's manufacturing processes. These may include applications such as the determination of water, air, oil, and gas flows in mobile and stationary equipment.

"We are really excited about the Bend Sensor technology and its potential in the pumping industry," stated Dona Williamson, President of Precision Pumping Systems Inc. "We are looking to further expand the use of this technology in our industry and offer a wider selection of flow-monitoring devices. We believe the development of the flow switch has as great a potential as the upcoming flow meter in the industrial marketplace."

"These past few weeks have been the most exciting times for Flexpoint since I have been with the company," stated Flexpoint's CEO Clark Mower. "The flow application is nearing its production phase, and we are very pleased to begin manufacturing the sensors for this technology. The medical bed product has received renewed enthusiasm with the identification of a new distribution partner, who is very excited about the potential of the bed. In addition, we are preparing for another trip back to Europe to showcase our new technology developments and further our agreements."

Mr. Mower continued, "All the interest and activities are requiring us to reorganize our current business model and hire additional staff in the marketing, finance, and executive positions, as we transition from a development company to a manufacturing and sales corporation. This truly is a very exciting time for Flexpoint."

Flexpoint Sensor Systems Inc.
The company manufacturers a patented, cutting-edge flexible sensor, which has also proven to be an extremely durable switch. The single-layer Bend Sensor product allows for the measurement of mechanical movement, airflow, water flow, or even vibration. It can be used as a range of motion sensors or as a durable and reliable switch in most harsh environments. Flexpoint serves numerous industries, including automotive, medical, industrial controls, and more.


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