Tokyo-based Kuraray Co. has developed a film polymer sensor that generates an electric charge when it is bent. Because of its flexibility, light weight and portability, the sensor can be applied directly to the body or embedded in apparel to monitor respiratory and other physical functions.
The degree of flexure of the material, developed by Kuraray, determines the voltage, which is maintained at an almost constant rate as long as the material is bent. The sensor does not require a power supply for activation, and it is available in various shapes and sizes for easy integration into medical devices.
“Since this sensor can detect the angle at which it is bent, it is particularly suitable for detecting irregular surfaces and changes in movement,” says a company spokesman. “It can also be used with input devices controlled by bending and twisting as well as flexible switches in electronic devices.”
By arraying multiple sensors in a matrix, it is possible to detect irregularly shaped objects and to re-create their images. “The sensor can be used for 3-D motion capture and for flexible skin that is attached to the surface of robots,” according to the company.Miki Anzai