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These stretchy, durable sensors could be woven right into clothing

These stretchy, durable sensors could be woven right into clothing
From TechCrunch - July 12, 2017

If we must have an Internet of Things, it makes no sense to leave clothes out of the party. But clothes must be worn, washed, bunched up and foldedits hard to make electronics that can survive all that. Plenty are trying, though; the latest attempt is from Harvards Wyss Institute, which uses a simple but effective layering method to make a durable, customizable flex sensor.

Its quite basic, in a way: a material sandwich with layers of conductive fabric above and below a filling of silicone. When the fabric stretches, the silicone gets thinner and the conductive layers get closer together, changing their capacitance and producing a different electrical signal.

The way the layers are assembled, with the fabric laid on the liquid silicone and allowed to cure, physically locks the layers together. So the signal is more predictable and the fabric always returns to a base capacitancemeanwhile, even slight bending or stretching instantly produces a measurable change. It also works when chopped into arbitrarily sized and shaped pieces.

The team put together a glove using multiple pieces of the material, and found that fine movements of the fingers could be detected easily.

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