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Nanowires enable wearable sensors for new prosthetics

Researchers have used silver nanowires to develop wearable, multifunctional sensors for possible use in biomedical, military or athletic applications, including new prosthetics, robotic systems and flexible touch panels.

The sensors, developed at North Carolina State University, can reportedly measure strain, pressure, human touch and bioelectronic signals such as electrocardiograms.

In a statement, Shanshan Yao, a Ph.D. student at NC State and lead author of a paper on the work said: ‘The technology is based on either physical deformation or ‘fringing’ electric field changes.

‘The latter is very similar to the mechanism used in smartphone touch screens, but the sensors we’ve developed are stretchable and can be mounted on a variety of curvilinear surfaces such as human skin,’

‘These sensors could be used to help develop prosthetics that respond to a user’s movement and provide feedback when in use,’ said Dr. Yong Zhu, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NC State and senior author of the paper. ‘They could also be used to create robotics that can ‘feel’ their environment, or the sensors could be incorporated into clothing to track motion or monitor an individual’s physical health.’

The researchers built on Zhu’s earlier work to create highly conductive and elastic conductors made from silver nanowires.

Read more: http://www.theengineer.co.uk/electronics/news/nanowires-enable-wearable-sensors-for-new-prosthetics/1017830.article#ixzz2qdvOLqvt

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Category

engineering precision

Date

January 17, 2014

Author

Sally

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