The researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale le Lausanne (EPFL), in Switzerland, have developed a smart fiber that is capable of sensing tiny changes in pressure and strain that are placed on it. The researchers believe the technology could be applied for the development of new kinds of sensors and for producing smart clothing that can detect breathing, heart beats, and other health parameters.
“We developed a simple method to fabricate elastic fibers, fibers that are very soft and that can also integrate variety of materials. That can be electrodes, that can be optical materials that can guide lights. Some can respond to strain, some can respond to torsion, to pressure to shear,” said Fabien Sorin from the Laboratory of Photonic Materials and Fiber Devices.
“The main innovation that we’re showing in our study is that this process used to be applied to glasses and thermoplastics. Now we found a new selection criteria to apply it to thermoplastic elastic, which are materials that are very soft, that can be deformed.”
The fiber threads are exceptionally flexible and elastic, made of an elastomer within which electrodes and other small materials and devices can be fairly easily integrated.
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