With the wide range of operations that happen within the human body, it is obvious that the nature of these individual tasks would vary greatly. For example, the intricacies that are involved in the functioning of a heart would be higher than various other less complex processes within the body. So naturally, the repair of such processes would require a far more delicate approach. Therefore to aid with such fragile tasks, researchers from NIMS and AIST have developed the world’s first stretchable and bendable vibration powered device. Let us take a look into this a little more in detail.
This revolutionary new device uses a liquid electret material that is capable of semi permanently retaining static electricity. By combining this with soft electrodes the material can generate voltages based on its distance from the associated electrodes. Due to this property, these electret materials could possibly be used to develop vibration powered devices that can convert the vibrations into electrical signals.
This new device is especially groundbreaking as it also has the capacity to bend and stretch. Until now, we’ve only had devices that are solid, making their usage in medical devices such as wearable heart rate and pulse sensors, impossible. But with the benability and stretchability of this newly created electret material, the development of such heart rate and pulse sensors could be made possible as it can be moulded into any required shape.
The research team started by using porphyrin, an organic compound and created a shield around it with the help of a flexible but insulating structure. This led to the development of a liquid material at room temperature which was able to stably retain charge. Following this, the team used it as a base to develop a bendable and stretchable vibration powered device.
To achieve this, the researchers applied a high voltage onto the liquid which electrically charged it. Then, the liquid material was soaked into a stretchable textile and was later placed between two layers of soft polyurethane electrodes that were integrated with silver plated fibers as wiring materials. The resultant device had the capacity to generate up to 200mV of voltage when its surface was pressed with a finger tip and can operate stably for a minimum of 1.5 months.
The applications for a more refined version of this device could potentially be limitless. With more research studies, scientists hope to improve it static electricity retention and also better the processing techniques applied to the device. As we progress deeper into the future, the functionality and usability of this device is bound to expand given the trajectory at which technological advancement is moving. The future looks bright as we may soon be able to solve heart related issues and other delicate matters easier than ever before!