Wearable sensors give users a plethora of tracking and monitoring capabilities these days.
Researchers have just made it possible for wearable sensors to provide even more functionality by using chewing gum. The scientists report their findings in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, where they describe the unique sensing device made of gum and carbon nanotubes that can move with your body parts and track your breathing.
While today’s sensors are sensitive and capable of detecting slight movements, they are typically made out of metal. The researchers wanted to develop a sensor that could monitor the full range of a body’s bending and stretching. Other research teams have worked with stretch plastic and silicone to make this happen, but Malcolm Xing and his colleagues decided to use a simple and plentiful material — chewing gum.
To create the sensor, a team member chewed a piece of gum for 30 minutes, washed it with ethanol and let it sit overnight. The researchers then added a solution of carbon nanotubes which they pulled and folded so that they aligned properly. Human finger-bending and head-turning tests showed the material could keep working with high sensitivity even when strained 530 percent. The sensor is also capable of detecting humidity changes which could be used to track breathing, an act that releases water vapor with every exhale.
Watch the video for more information.
Story and video via American Chemical Society.