This touchless control is made possible by a polymer sensor affixed to the cellphone which, like human skin, reacts to the tiniest fluctuations in temperature and differences in pressure and recognizes the finger as it approaches.
The scenario is fictitious at present but could become reality in a few years time thanks to the efforts of the research scientists involved in the EU project 3Plast, which stands for »Printable pyroelectrical and piezoelectrical large area sensor technology«. The companies and institutes involved from industry and research have set themselves the goal of mass producing pressure and temperature sensors which can be cheaply printed onto plastic film and flexibly affixed to a wide range of everyday objects, such as electronic equipment.
The 2.2 million euro funded project is coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC in Würzburg. »The sensor consists of pyroelectrical and piezoelectrical polymers which can now be processed in high volumes by screen printing, for example. The sensor is combined with an organic transistor, which strengthens the sensor signal. It's strongest where the finger is,« explains Gerhard Domann, who is in charge of the project. »The special thing about our sensor is that the transistor can also be printed.«
The production of polymer sensors still poses a number of challenges. To produce printable transistors, the insulation materials have to be very thin. The experts at the ISC have, however, succeeded in producing an insulator which is only 100 nanometers thick. The first sensors have already been printed onto film. The research scientists are currently working on optimized transistors which can amplify rapid changes in temperature and pressure.
»By providing everyday objects with information about their environment – for example whether a person is approaching – by means of pressure and temperature sensors, we can create and market new devices that can be controlled just by pointing a finger,« enthuses Domann. The research scientist envisions further applications for the technology in the automotive and construction industries as well as in robotics. »The project comes to an end in January 2011, but we think it will take a few more years before sensors can be printed on large surfaces.«
Gerhard Domann | EurekAlert!
'Super yeast' has the power to improve economics of biofuels
18.10.2016 | University of Wisconsin-Madison
Engineers reveal fabrication process for revolutionary transparent sensors
14.10.2016 | University of Wisconsin-Madison
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences