Skin-electrode iontronic interface for mechanosensing
© Thomas Barwick/DigitalVision/Getty Images
The skin itself can form an active component in a wearable device able to sense touch and to monitor vital signs such as the pulse — a discovery that could simplify the design and manufacture of electronic skin.
Wearable pressure-sensing electronic skins typically have a sandwich-like structure in which two electrode layers are separated by a third material. Because the skin itself is ionic, however — kept moist with sweat rich in ions such as sodium and chloride — simple electrodes can directly be applied to the skin surface, for electrocardiogram (ECG) heart monitoring, for example.
Now, eight researchers from SUSTech and two collaborators have used a related simple electrode approach to develop a touch- and pulse-sensing electronic skin. The sensor could detect changes in capacitance due to pressure changes as small as the pulse in the fingertip. Incorporated in a glove, the device could sense a touch with millimetre-scale precision.
- Nature Communication 12, 4731 (2021). doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-24946-4