A skin-like, wearable system combines colorimetric and electronic function for precise dosimetry in the UV-A and UV-B regions of the spectrum. This platform is suitable for determination of instantaneous UV exposure levels and skin temperature. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a major risk factor for most skin cancers. UV rays damage the DNA of skin cells. Skin cancers start when this damage affects the DNA of genes that control skin cell growth. Creating awareness in UV exposure is widely believed to be an important aspect in improving skin health.
Carbon nanotube enabled nanocomposites have received much attention as a highly attractive alternative to conventional composite materials due to their mechanical, electrical, thermal, barrier and chemical properties such as electrical conductivity, increased tensile strength, improved heat deflection temperature, or flame retardancy. In new work, researchers report the fabrication of highly conductive carbon nanotube/polylactic acid nanocomposites used as 3D printable conductive inks for fabrication of conductive scaffold structures applicable as liquid sensors.
Point-of-care diagnostics, food safety screening, and environmental monitoring will massively benefit from the label-free, inexpensive, rapid, handheld sensor devices that are currently under development. To date, there has been a lot of work reported on either SERS or plasmonic sensing but very few have reported sensing with the same device for both SERS and plasmonics, let alone plasmonic colorimetry naked-eye sensing. For the first time ever, researchers have reported the combination of naked-eye plasmonic colorimetry and high-enhancement and high-uniformity SERS in one sensor.
Researchers have developed a highly manufacturable integration strategy for making 3D flexible sensor arrays and connecting them to control electronics based on the widely popular phrase, 'Two sides of the same coin'. Sensor arrays and control elements for flexible electronics devices are usually placed on the same plane, unnecessary requiring additional area, and causing problems of heat dissipation. These challenges motivated researchers to come up with an area-efficient solution for the problem of connecting sensors and electronics together in such a way that electronics can be kept away from the sensed surface. This is the first time ever the concept of double sided flexible 3D electronics has been introduced in the flexible and wearable electronics industry.
The latest example of a graphene-based wireless sensor that could make 24-hour healthcare easier to achieve by enabling wireless monitoring of various biomedical events in order to gain a more comprehensive assessment of the wearer's healthcare status. This novel device, which detects chemical/molecular agents and lengths of exposure, can be used as lightweight and transparent wearable or bio-implantable electronic sensor. It may provide an inexpensive way to detect in real-time the biomedical of interest.
Nanomaterials like graphene and fullerenes provide an excellent platform to enhance weak signals from biomarkers. While graphene and fullerenes perform very well for detecting isolated biomarkers, their ability to amplify emission of biomarkers in a real physiological milieu is limited due to their strong interactions with other biomolecules such as proteins and lipids. A team of researchers now have developed new sensing platforms that use two-dimensional materials beyond graphene.
In order to make robots and robotic technology more human-like and more human-friendly, smart skin technology is a critical element that helps robots sense the world. These electronic or smart skins could help machines to accurately perceive the environment and better assist human owners. By applying the triboelectric effect and planar electrostatic induction, researchers for the first time have created a self-powered analogue smart skin.
Our environment will slowly but surely evolve into an 'Internet of Things', where chips and sensors are integrated invisibly in the environment to assume their manifold tasks. Think of sensors that detect the presence of individuals and adapt the light in a building accordingly, resulting in serious energy savings. Those sensors will be, in a sense, the eyes, ears, and noses of our environment. At the recent ISSCC-conference, researchers have presented a number of remarkable developments. These may pave the way to a world where sensors assist us to drive more safely, live healthier, and make the planet more sustainable.