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Flexible Nanowire Sensor Technology Shows Promise

Posted on: 02/20/2014
Using silver nanowires, North Carolina State University (NC State) researchers have developed wearable sensors that can measure strain, pressure, human touch, and bioelectronic signals such as electrocardiograms.

The technology is based on either physical deformation or “fringing” electric field changes (similar to the mechanism used in smartphone touch screens). The sensors developed at NC State are stretchable and can be mounted on curvilinear surfaces such as human skin.

The researchers built on earlier work to create highly conductive and elastic conductors made from silver nanowires by sandwiching an insulating material between two of the stretchable conductors. The layers then have the capacitance to store electric charges. Pushing, pulling or touching the stretchable conductors changes the capacitance, and the sensors work by measuring that change in capacitance.

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