Friday, 21 November 2008
Getting under your skin ...
Various developments are often popping up in the area of sensing and new sensor technology. Scientists in Belgium have now announced a way of using optical components such as waveguides, light sources and detectors in a flexible substrate, potentially offering a new type of pressure sensor. Because the form of the substrate may be a flexible foil type of structure, it is possible to imagine its use as an artificial skin material. This might have applications in robots or indeed other machinery where such a sense is of use.
A thin layer of silicone is arranged between two polymer waveguide layers and the amount of crosstalk detected indicates the pressure applied. in the absence of any pressure, there is no leakage between the layers. This makes for a potentially very cheap pressure sensor. The ultimate aim of the researchers is to make a stretchable skin which is sensitive to pressure, touch and deformation.