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Researcher changes paper in smart sensors

Researcher changes paper in smart sensors
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Christian Boas

Scientists at the University of Washington have been able to turn conventional paper, such as toilet paper, into wearable smart sensors. B. detect the heartbeat, finger pressure or blinking of the eyelids. The technology, which currently exists only as a laboratory experiment, promises a new kind of particularly lightweight, flexible and inexpensive sensors with numerous applications.

“The great innovation of our laboratory experiments is that they can be used as a basis to make tissue paper tissue wearable sensors extremely cheap,” quotes “Phys, org” Jae-Hyun Chung, associate professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering One of the University of Washington senior researchers is working on the project.

Tissue paper corresponds to a conventional absorbent sanitary paper made of pulp, which is in common use as a paper tissue, napkin or toilet paper in use. Chung and his team are convinced that their small sensors provide “a variety of promising applications” in practice.

For example, they would work well to monitor a person’s gait, movements, or eyes, and thus monitor their brain activity. It could also save children with special needs from having to go to the hospital for certain tests every time. Even older people could use this for therapeutic purposes, the researchers said.

Conductivity thanks to carbon nanotubes
In order to transform toilet paper into a sensor, the researchers in their experiments in the laboratory first doused the starting material with a liquid which consists essentially of water that has been enriched with carbon nanotubes. The microscopic tubular structures provide good electronic conductivity.

Subsequently, the fibrous structure of the paper is broken. “Every piece of paper has both horizontal and vertical fibers. When the paper is torn, the direction of the tear indicates to the sensor what has happened. If you want to detect eye movements, it is enough to attach the sensor to the reading glasses of a person, “explains Chong.

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