Feeds

Here come the CATBOTS: Boffins build 'whisker sensors'

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

Application security programs and practises

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.