Researchers from University of Connecticut developed a smart multifaceted sensing platform that can be used as hazard preventive wearables and for remote healthcare monitoring
A team of researchers from University of Connecticut and University of Toronto developed a sensor that can mimic the sensing properties of skin. The team used a silicone tube wrapped in a copper wire to create the sensor. The tube was filled with a special fluid developed from iron oxide nanoparticles. The nanoparticles interact with the inside of the silicone tube to create an electric current, which is picked by the copper wire surrounding the silicone tube. The nanoparticles move and the electric signal changes when this tube is bumped by something experiencing pressure. Moreover, sound waves also create waves in the nanoparticle fluid to induce a change in the electric signal and the change is different than when the tube is bumped.
The metallic skin is a multimodal ferrofluidâ€based triboelectric nanogenerator (FOâ€TENG) that has sensing capabilities to a variety of hazard stimulus including a strong magnetic field, noise level, and falling or drowning. The FOâ€TENG is made from a deformable elastomer tube filled with a ferrofluid, which acts as a triboelectric layer. It is surrounded by a patterned copper wire, as an electrode, to offer excellent waterproof ability, conformability, and stretchability. Moreover, FOâ€TENG is highly flexible and can withstand structural integrity and has detection capability under repetitive deformations.
The team found that magnetic fields also impact the signal in a way that is different from pressure or sound waves. Even a person moving around while carrying the sensor can induce a change in the electrical current. According to the team, it is possible to distinguish between the electrical signals caused by walking, running, jumping, and swimming. Metal skin can help burn victims to regain the ability to feel and can act as an early warning for workers exposed to dangerously high magnetic fields. The rubber exterior of the skin is completely sealed and waterproof. Therefore, it can also be used as a wearable monitor to offer alerts in various conditions. The research was published in the journal Advanced Materials on January 28, 2019.
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