Sensors are becoming widely popular and useful with the growing advancement in technology. And now, the researchers from China have devised a very simple way to develop highly sensitive and strong sensors and all you require is a simple pencil. Pencil drawing can now easily be turned into sensors that can measure how much something can or is bent.
This idea is very simple yet very useful. It could be used to customize wearable techs, monitor motion in machines or trace the movement of a robot, or trigger alarm to alert you if someone opens your books or door. The researchers say that the process is cheap and simple enough to be used in do-it-yourself projects.
Moreover, it can be of great help if the resources are limited in research work. It is expected that it could help cut cost and turn a pencil drawing into a capacitive sensor for Arduino on production of wearable techs. Moreover, pencil-drawn devices can are cheap, versatile and very fast and easy to make. Also, it is very convenient since it does not use any solvent, so it bypasses problems of toxicity of solvent, stability of ink, evaporation and spreading of ink.
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The mechanism used is very simple. Suppose, if a rectangle is drawn on a paper by using a graphite pencil, it will conduct electricity but will have some resistance. Depending on the direction in which it bends, its resistance will either increase or decrease. So, if we measure the resistance, the precise angle of bending can be predicted.
Interestingly, the researchers showed that by sticking the paper to a finger, the movement of limbs can be monitored. They said that it could measure how much the object was bent and thereby, they can determine the amount of pressure exerted on the object. Also, in case of book or diary or door, it can be used to tell the angle to which it was opened.
The accuracy of these sensors is comparable to the commercial ones. The researchers said that it could be used even thousand times without losing its sensitivity and most importantly- it costs you almost nothing.
This sensor was developed by Yue Zhang from the University of Science and Technology, Beijing. His work is based on earlier work by Jiaxing Huang and his colleagues from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, on similar sort of sensors. Both of them believe that it could be scaled up to produce sensors in factories but in the meanwhile, they are meant for research and education purposes.
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