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Engineers Create Tiny Threads That Sense How and When You Move in Real-Time

A threaded scanning electron microscope coated with carbon ink. Straight thread on the left side. Bending the coated yarn causes strain (right) and changes its electrical conductivity. This is the amount that can be used to calculate the degree of deformation (scale bar 200 microns).Credits: Yiwen Jiang, Tufts University

Engineers have created a thread sensor that can be attached to the skin to measure movement in real time. This can affect your health and performance tracking.

Tufts University engineers have created and demonstrated flexible thread-based sensors that can measure neck movement and provide data on head orientation, angle of rotation, and degree of displacement. According to the Tufts team, this finding increases the likelihood of thin, unobtrusive tattoo-like patches, measuring athletic performance, monitoring worker or driver fatigue, supporting physiotherapy, enhancing virtual reality games and systems. , Allows improvement of computer-generated images. With cinematography.Technology described today (January 29, 2021) Science reportIs increasing the number of thread-based sensors developed by Tufts engineers. These sensors are woven into textiles and can measure gases and chemicals in the environment, or biotransformers in sweat.

In their experiment, researchers placed two threads behind the subject’s neck in an “X” pattern. The sensor, coated with a conductive carbon-based ink, detects movement as the thread bends and produces strain that changes the way electricity is conducted. When the subject performed a series of head movements, the wire sent a signal to a small Bluetooth module, which wirelessly sent the data to a computer or smartphone for analysis.

Data analysis included an advanced machine learning approach that interprets and transforms signals and quantifies head movements in real time, at 93%. Accuracy.. In this way, sensors and processors track movement without interference from wires, bulky devices, or restrictions such as camera use or confinement in room or laboratory space.

Researchers say the algorithm needs to be specialized for each position in the body, but proof of principle shows that thread sensors can be used to measure the movement of other limbs. Even body-fitting garments containing skin patches or threads can be used to track movement in settings where measurements are most relevant, such as in the field, at work, or in the classroom. The fact that you don’t need a camera provides additional privacy.

“This is a promising demonstration of how to create sensors that monitor health, performance, and the environment in an unobtrusive way,” said Yiwen Jiang, an undergraduate student at Tufts University’s Faculty of Engineering and lead author of the study. “More work needs to be done to improve the range and accuracy of the sensor. In this case, we collect data from a larger array of threads arranged at regular intervals or patterns to quantify joint movement. Means to develop an algorithm that improves. “

Other types of wearable motion sensor designs include a 3-axis gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnetometer to detect subject movement in relation to the surroundings. These sensors are based on inertial measurements and tend to be bulky and inconvenient because they quantify how the body accelerates, rotates, or moves up and down. For example, other systems require one sensor to be placed on the forehead and another sensor on the neck above the vertebrae to measure head movements. Interfering placement of the device can hinder the subject’s freedom of movement and the convenience of simply being unaware of the measurement.

In situations such as playgrounds, a new thread-based sensor paradigm can become a game changer. By placing thin tattoo-like patches on various joints, athletes can carry motion sensors to detect body movements and shapes. Also, the thread-based sweat sensor described in a previous study by Tufts Team is an electrolyte, lactate, and other biological marker of sweat performance.

On the road, thread sensor patches can warn of truck driver fatigue and other situations where it is important to track the operator’s attention, and can monitor the movement of the nodding person’s head.

“If we could take this technology further, there could be a wide range of applications in health care,” said Jiang. “For example, people studying Parkinson’s disease and other neuromuscular diseases can also track subject movements in normal environments and daily life to collect data on the subject’s condition and effectiveness of treatment. I can do it.”

Samir Soncksell, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Tufts University’s Faculty of Engineering and director of the Tufts Nano Lab, said: And the author of the corresponding study. “Creating a coated thread that can measure movement is a surprising achievement, and it is even more remarkable due to the fact that Yiwen developed the invention as an undergraduate. Sophisticating the technology and its many possibilities. I look forward to exploring. “

Reference: January 29, 2021 Science report..
DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-021-81284-7

Funding: National Science Foundation, US Army Combat Capability Development Command Soldier Center



Engineers Create Tiny Threads That Sense How and When You Move in Real-Time Source link Engineers Create Tiny Threads That Sense How and When You Move in Real-Time

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