Feeds

Here come the CATBOTS: Boffins build 'whisker sensors'

Carbon nanotube creation sensitive enough to 'feel' paper resting on a desk

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A combination of carbon nanotubes and silver nanoparticles has created a whisker-like sensor that can detect pressure as small as one Pascal, which they describe as “about the pressure exerted on a table surface by a dollar bill.”

The boffins at the Berkeley Lab and the University of California (UC) Berkeley (with DARPA support) have successfully tested their development to create a 3D map of wind flow using the setup pictured below.

“Our electronic whiskers consist of high-aspect-ratio elastic fibers coated with conductive composite films of nanotubes and nanoparticles. In tests, these whiskers were 10 times more sensitive to pressure than all previously reported capacitive or resistive pressure sensors,” says scientist Ali Javey in the lab's release.

To create the “whiskers”, the researchers first created a “paste” of carbon nanotubes to create a bendable, electrically-conductive matrix as the substrate. To this, they added a thin film of silver nanoparticles to detect the strain on the whiskers attached to the base.

Berkeley's whisker-like wind detector

LBL's e-whisker wind detector. Image: Berkeley Lab

“In the future, e-whiskers could be used to mediate tactile sensing for the spatial mapping of nearby objects, and could also lead to wearable sensors for measuring heartbeat and pulse rate,” the lab says.

The Berkeley group says their “e-whiskers” are lightweight and easy to fabricate, making them suitable for applications in robotics, human-machine interfaces and biology. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?