Sensors for a light touch

The tactile sensors consist of iron nanowires embedded in an elastic polymer matrix that is shaped to form the hairs.

© 2015 KAUST

Highly sensitive tactile sensors that can mimic the touch sensitivity of human skin have been developed by researchers from KAUST. 

Tactile sensors can be used in a range of applications from artificial skins to energy generation. Typically they are made out of materials that change their electrical resistance or create an electrical voltage when touched. However, these materials often lack the minute sensitivity and dynamic range needed for more advanced applications.

These high sensitivities can be achieved through sensors that mimic the function of cilia, which are small hair-like structures that line the human inner ear and that insects have on their legs to sense vibrations. 

“The bio-inspired sensors feature hair-like structures that are implemented in a compact design and operate with ultra-low power consumption,” said KAUST's Jürgen Kosel.

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