The laboratory of photonic materials and fibre devices (FIMAP) department of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne [EPFL]) research institute recently proposed a new, patented way of preparing flexible sensors. Led by EPFL associate professor Fabien Sorin, the project team developed a method that can embed different types of microstructures in “super-elastic” fibers, forming fibers that contain electrodes and nanocomposites from the elastic system.
The kind of fiber produced has the ability to return to its original shape after being stretched nearly 500 percent of its original capacity. By adding electrodes at key points, the fiber can be turned into an ultra-sensitive sensor, making it ideal for wearable applications, such as smart clothing and prostheses, as well as for artificial nerves in robots.
After incorporating the fiber in the production of clothing material, the team found that it was able to detect compression and tensile forces. Additionally, the technology can be used to develop a touch keyboard that can be integrated directly into clothing, Prof. Sorin said.
The complete results were recently published by in Advanced Materials Technologies.