Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Pencil Sketches Turn Paper into A Sensor


Pencil
With the growing development in technology, sensors are now becoming very popular and useful and some researchers have invented a simple way to create high sensitive and strong sensors whereinthe requirement is in the form of a simple pencil. Pencil drawing can now be easily turned into sensors which can measure how much something can or is distorted.

A team of researcher from the University of Science and Technology Beijing have studied how plain pencil shapes drawn on paper could be used as an accurate sensor to measure the distortion of objects. The graphite that is deposited by the pencil conducts electricity and its high electrical resistance changes subtly when the object on which it is laid tends to change shape.

New Scientist reports that on drawing a pencil rectangle on paper it conducts electricity though it has quite a high resistance and as it bends, the resistance increase or decreases based on which way it could get distorted, On measuring the resistance, the exact angle of bend is then identified and precisely measuring the changes, the researchers have indicated that they can accurately measure the angle at which a piece of paper is distorted. It was also glued to a human finger in order to detect the articulation of digit in a book to measure how far it was opened and a ruler to measure the bending of the beam.

Sensors Intended for Wearable Technology

The measurement obtained by the paper sensors were almost accurate as the commercially available sensors, the results of which were published in Advanced Functional Materials. This could be used as a hobby at home or in school to introduce the concept of sensing to students and researchers are speculating that graphite could be used to create ad-hoc sensors for robotics as well as wearable technologies which could be used for a short time, removed and easily restored at a minimum cost.

As per Yue Zhang from the University of Science and Technology, Beijing he states that the sensors are intended for use in wearable technology which relies on other components that have not yet been developed and thinks that there are other uses too.

He further comments that they can foresee that alarm systems could be cheaper than the existing ones and that they are making active efforts to find a related company to cooperate. Zhang’s work is built on his earlier work by Jiaxing Huang and colleagues from North-westernUniversity in Evanston, Illinois on same sensors.

Cheap/Handy/Quick- Useful with Limited Resources

According to him, pencil drawn devices are cheap, handy and quick to make and could be useful in conditions where resources could be limited while Huang states that pencil drawing is a very convenient way to deposit materials on paper.

Since it does not use any solvent it sidesteps several issues like toxicity of solvent, stability of ink, evaporation and spreading of ink which could be considered in `wet printing techniques’.Moreover, it could also help in cutting down cost and turn the pencil drawing into a capacitive sensor for Arduino on production of wearable techs.

Huang and Zhang are of the opinion that the technique could be scrambled up to produce these kinds of sensor in factories, though in the meantime they could be utilised for DIY projects or education.

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