Sticky Sensors for Internal Organs

sensor_adhesive

This gel-based adhesive for sticking sensors on the body can measure strain and electrical activity.
Image: Nature Communications

Sensors can go almost anywhere and do almost anything – and soon, sensors may be making their way to your internal organs.

Researchers have developed an electronic sensor, of which they will attach to a newly designed sticky sheet in order to attach to the body’s organs.

This from Popular Science:

A team of researchers based at several Japanese universities made prototype sticky sensors that they’ve now tested on the still-beating hearts of living rats. The sensors measured strain and electrical activity, both of which are created when a heart beats. In a test, the sensors maintained good contact with the rats’ heart for three hours.

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‘Smart Skin’ Replicates Sense of Touch

A team has developed a skin that can stretch over the entire prosthesis; and its applications aren't just limited to pressure. It's embedded with ultrathin, single crystalline silicone nanoribbon, which enables an array of sensors.Credit: Kim et al./Nature Communications

The skin is embedded with ultrathin, single crystalline silicone nanoribbon, which enables an array of sensors.
Credit: Kim et al./Nature Communications

We’ve talked about the advancements in prosthetic limbs in the past, but now a group of researchers out of Seoul National University are taking innovation in prosthetics one step further with this new “smart skin.”

Researchers from the Republic of Korea have developed a stretchy synthetic skin embedded with sensors, which will be able to help those with prosthetics regain their sense of touch.

This from “Stretchable silicon nanoribbon electronics for skin prosthesis” in the journal Nature Communications:

This collection of stretchable sensors and actuators facilitate highly localized mechanical and thermal skin-like perception in response to external stimuli, thus providing unique opportunities for emerging classes of prostheses and peripheral nervous system interface technologies.

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Clothes That Monitor, Transmit Biomedical Info

The smart fabric developed is durable, malleable, and can be woven with cotton or wool.Credit: Université Laval/Stepan Gorgusta

The smart fabric developed is durable, malleable, and can be woven with cotton or wool.
Credit: Université Laval/Stepan Gorgusta

We’ve hear about smartphones and “smart cars,” and even such recent developments as the smart highway – but what about a smart textile?

Researchers from Université Laval’s Faculty of Science and Engineering and Centre for Optics, Photonics and Lasers are well on their way to developing clothes that can monitor and transmit biomedical information on wearers.

By using sensor technology and wireless networks, this smart textile will be able to track and transmit this medical information – which has the potential to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from chronic disease, firemen and police offers, and people who are elderly.

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Smart Streets: The Highway Is Getting Brighter

The painted road markings are said to be able to glow up to eight hours in the dark.Credit: Roosegaarde

The painted road markings are said to be able to glow up to eight hours in the dark.
Credit: Roosegaarde

There has been a great deal of debate and innovation in smart cars recently, but why just stop at the car? Why not make a smart highway?

At least that’s the question Dutch developer Heijmans and designer Daan Roosegaard are asking. Since 2012 the duo have been talking about and drumming up game plans for innovative designs that would improve road sustainability, safety, and perception.

These ideas include: electric priority lane, which would allow electric cars to charge themselves while driving; dynamic paint, which would glow or become transparent upon sensing temperature in order to let you know road conditions; and interactive light, which would be controlled by sensors to active only when traffic approaches in order to create sustainable road light.

But the company’s main, and most tangible, development is their glow-in-the-dark lining.

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The ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology (JSS) is one of the newest peer-reviewed journals from ECS launched in 2012.

The ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology (JSS) is one of the newest peer-reviewed journals from ECS launched in 2012.

Printing technologies in an atmospheric environment offer the potential for low-cost and materials-efficient alternatives for manufacturing electronics and energy devices such as luminescent displays, thin film transistors, sensors, thin film photovoltaics, fuel cells, capacitors, and batteries.

This focus issue will cover state-of-the-art efforts that address a variety of approaches to printable functional materials and devices.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Printable functional materials: metals; organic conductors; organic and inorganic semiconductors; and more
  • Functional printed devices: RFID tags and antenna; thin film transistors; solar cells; and more
  • Advances in printing and conversion processes: ink chemistry; ink rheology; printing and drying process; and more
  • Advances in conventional and emerging printing techniques: inkjet printing; aerosol printing; flexographic printing; and more

Find out more!

Deadline for submission of manuscripts is November 30, 2014.

Please submit manuscripts here.

See-through sensors, which have been developed by a team of UW-Madison engineers, should help neural researchers better view brain activity.Credit: Justin Williams' Research Group

See-through sensors, which have been developed by a team of UW-Madison engineers, should help neural researchers better view brain activity.
Credit: Justin Williams’ Research Group

A team of engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed invisible implantable medical sensor array, which will help neural researchers better view and understand brain activity.

This from the University of Wisconsin-Madison:

Neural researchers study, monitor or stimulate the brain using imaging techniques in conjunction with implantable sensors that allow them to continuously capture and associate fleeting brain signals with the brain activity they can see. However, it’s difficult to see brain activity when there are sensors blocking the view.

Read the full article here.

The development of the see-through sensor will help overcome this major technological hurdle.

“One of the holy grails of neural implant technology is that we’d really like to have an implant device that doesn’t interfere with any of the traditional imagining diagnostics,” says Justin Williams, a professor of biomedical engineering and neurological surgery at UW-Madison. “A traditional implant looks like a square of dots, and you can’t see anything under it. We wanted to make a transparent electronic device.”

The research is published in the October 20 issue of the online journal Nature Communications.

The team developed the sensor using graphene due to its versatility and biocompatibility, thus making the device incredibly flexible and transparent because the electronic circuit elements are only four atoms thick.

Sensor science and technology is growing rapidly in response to an ever-increasing demand for faster, cheaper, smaller, and more sensitive means to monitor the chemical, biological, and physical world around us. Make sure you stay up-to-date with the latest research in this exciting field through our Digital Library.

If you’re a cycler, you know this problem all too well: you’re stopped at a traffic light, the only vehicle at a controlled intersection, and are waiting for the seemingly never-ending red light to change. Now, thanks to Nat Collins’ new development, you may not have to encounter this problem.

Collins has created a device called the Veloloop, which uses a patented circuit technology to trigger sensors in asphalt. In essence, the device is designed to make traffic light sensors think that your bike is a car.

This from Gizmag:

Embedded “inductive loop” traffic sensors work by creating an electromagnetic field in the surface layer of the road. When a sufficiently-large metal object – such as a car – stops above the sensor, it creates eddy currents within that field. This is detected by the system’s traffic signal controller, which causes the light to change.

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Self-Driving Cars by next Year?

With new technology and scientific breakthroughs in the automobile industry, everyone is waiting for the first car that will be able to run autonomously. Now, it may be closer than we expected.

Tesla Motors’ CEO and chief product architect, Elon Musk, made a prediction in September of 2013 stating that Tesla automobiles would operate autonomously for “90 percent of miles driven within three years.” Musk has now revised his statement and has proponents of autopilot capable cars hopeful for the future.

This from IEEE Spectrum:

One year later, he’s revised his estimate a bit, now saying that “a Tesla car next year will probably be 90 percent capable of autopilot. Like, so 90 percent of your miles can be on auto. For sure highway travel.” Although he didn’t go into any detail (besides some suggestion of an obligatory sensor fusion approach), Musk seems confident that this is something that Tesla will make happen, not just sometime soon, but actually next year.

Read the full article here.

While there is still much ambiguity on what Musk’s statement actually entails, we will be waiting to see what technology Tesla puts forward within the next year.

Want to find out more about the future of the automobile? Take a look at what our scientist are researching via our Digital Library.

The transparent bandage displays an oxygen-sensitive colormap.Credit: Li/Wellman Center for Photomedicine

The transparent bandage displays an oxygen-sensitive colormap.
Credit: Li/Wellman Center for Photomedicine

A paint-on, see-through bandage – fully equipped with oxygenation sensors – has been developed with the purpose of better aiding wounded soldiers and improving the success of surgeries to restore limbs and physical functions.

Not only does it protect wounds and burns as any bandage should, but it also enables direct measurement and mapping of tissue oxygen.

The “smart” bandage was developed by an international, multidisciplinary team of researchers led by Assistant Professor Conor L. Evans at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine of Massachusetts Generall Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS). The group’s findings have been recently published in The Optical Society’s (OSA) open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express.

This from The Optical Society:

Now, the “smart” bandage developed by the team provides direct, noninvasive measurement of tissue oxygenation by combining three simple, compact and inexpensive components: a bright sensor molecule with a long phosphorescence lifetime and appropriate dynamic range; a bandage material compatible with the sensor molecule that conforms to the skin’s surface to form an airtight seal; and an imaging device capable of capturing the oxygen-dependent signals from the bandage with high signal-to-noise ratio.

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New Sensor Can Improve the Taste of Your Wine

PhD student Joana Guerreiro has taken part in developing a sensor, which has been dubbed the 'mini-mouth'.Credit: Lars Kruse, Aarhus University

PhD student Joana Guerreiro has taken part in developing a sensor, which has been dubbed the ‘mini-mouth’.
Credit: Lars Kruse, Aarhus University

The ‘mini-mouth’ – that’s what scientists have dubbed the new nanosensor that can mimic the sensation that wine creates in a person’s mouth, which then determines how a specific alcohol tastes.

This technology was created by PhD student Joana Guerreiro from Aarhus University in Denmark, and sets out to detect the level of astringency associated with a particular wine. A wine’s astringency is characterized by the dry sensation drinkers get in their mouth when they drink wine.

This from Aarhus University:

Quite specifically, the sensor is a small plate coated with nanoscale gold particles. On this plate, the researchers simulate what happens in your mouth by first adding some of the proteins contained in your saliva. After this they add the wine. The gold particles on the plate act as nano-optics and make it possible to focus a beam of light below the diffraction limit so as to precisely measure something that is very small – right down to 20 nanometres. This makes it possible to study and follow the proteins, and to see what effect the wine has. It is thereby possible to see the extent to which the small molecules have to bind together for the clumping effect on the protein to be set off.

Read the full article here.

While the technique itself is not new, the ingenuity lies in using it to create a sensor that can measure an effect rather than just the number of molecules.

This technology seems as though it would threaten the livelihood of sommeliers, but researchers say that is not what the sensor is intended for. Instead, the team at Aarhus University hopes that this will produce a tool that is useful in wine production.

Want to see what else sensors can do? Head over to our Digital Library to see the newest cutting-edge sensor research.

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