Researchers Create Affordable, Bendable Touch Sensor
Researchers at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, are working on flexible, stretchable touch sensors that could make the next generation of touchscreen devices bendable.
Sensors are already being used that can detect touch or a hovering finger, and there are also sensors that are foldable, transparent, and stretchable. The work at UBC combines all those features into one package.
To create the sensor, a highly conductive gel is inserted between layers of bendable silicone. The process casts an electrical field above the sensor that can detect touch even while bent. In addition, the materials used in the process are low in cost, making it attractive for use in a wide range of products.
The research, funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, is part of a larger effort to create robotic skins that could make human-robot interactions safer.
This video (below) from the UBC Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers a closer look at the material used to create the sensor.