Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New flexible sensor holds potential for foldable touch screens

16.03.2017

Picture a tablet that you can fold into the size of a phone and put away in your pocket, or an artificial skin that can sense your body's movements and vital signs. A new, inexpensive sensor developed at the University of British Columbia could help make advanced devices like these a reality.

The sensor uses a highly conductive gel sandwiched between layers of silicone that can detect different types of touch, including swiping and tapping, even when it is stretched, folded or bent. This feature makes it suited for foldable devices of the future.


There are sensors like the iPhone's 3-D Touch that can detect pressure, and some like Samsung's AirView that can detect a hovering finger. There are sensors that are foldable, transparent and stretchable. UBC researchers have developed a device that combines all those functions in one compact package -- the first stretchable touch sensor in Canada, and one that paves the way for foldable devices of the future. (Video)

Credit: University of British Columbia

"There are sensors that can detect pressure, such as the iPhone's 3D Touch, and some that can detect a hovering finger, like Samsung's AirView. There are also sensors that are foldable, transparent and stretchable. Our contribution is a device that combines all those functions in one compact package," said researcher Mirza Saquib Sarwar, a PhD student in electrical and computer engineering at UBC.

The prototype, described in a recent paper in Science Advances, measures 5 cm x 5 cm but could be easily scaled up as it uses inexpensive, widely available materials, including the gel and silicone.

"It's entirely possible to make a room-sized version of this sensor for just dollars per square metre, and then put sensors on the wall, on the floor, or over the surface of the body--almost anything that requires a transparent, stretchable touch screen," said Sarwar. "And because it's cheap to manufacture, it could be embedded cost-effectively in disposable wearables like health monitors."

The sensor could also be integrated in robotic "skins" to make human-robot interactions safer, added John Madden, Sarwar's supervisor and a professor in UBC's faculty of applied science.

"Currently, machines are kept separate from humans in the workplace because of the possibility that they could injure humans. If a robot could detect our presence and be 'soft' enough that they don't damage us during an interaction, we can safely exchange tools with them, they can pick up objects without damaging them, and they can safely probe their environment," said Madden.

###

The research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Flickr album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ubcpublicaffairs/albums/72157676350275103

Video: https://youtu.be/3G-QyyEltmQ

Media Contact

Lou Bosshart
lou.bosshart@ubc.ca
604-999-0473

 @UBCnews

http://www.ubc.ca 

Lou Bosshart | EurekAlert!

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Drones can almost see in the dark
20.09.2017 | Universität Zürich

nachricht World first: 'Storing lightning inside thunder'
18.09.2017 | University of Sydney

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular Force Sensors

20.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Producing electricity during flight

20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>