Pressure sensors in use today are fairly capable, being sufficiently flexible to adhere to uneven surfaces like human skin. However, once they're twisted more significantly, they're unable to accurately keep track of pressure changes. Now, researchers from the University of Tokyo have come up with a much more versatile option, creating a new sensor that's thinner than its rivals, and that can continue to sense pressure even when curved over a tiny radius.
Using a type of magnetic insulator material that normally doesn’t conduct
electricity, scientists working at Stanford University and the Department of
Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have shown that electric currents
can still be made to flow along the borders of the grains within the material. This latest research
not only validates a long-held belief that magnetic insulators could be used to
conduct electricity, but offers a more tantalizing possibility of creating
highly-efficient magnetic memory devices.
From military shelters and solar arrays to batteries and drones, engineers continue to prove that origami can be the inspiration for more than just paper cranes. The latest creation inspired by the ancient art of paper folding is a new "zippered tube" design that forms paper structures with enough stiffness to support weight, but can be folded flat for shipping or storage. The scaleable technique could be used in anything from microscopic robots and biomedical devices, to buildings and bridges.
A new single-step printing process uses an elastic conducting ink to turn clothing and other textiles into flexible, wearable electronic devices or sensors. Researchers at the University of Tokyo developed the ink, which remains highly conductive even when stretched to more than three times its original length. They believe it has applications in sensors built into sportswear and underwear and that it could be part of a shift toward more comfortable wearable electronics.