Super Sensor with Graphene-Laced Silly Putty 250X More Pressure-Sensitive!

Admin | Published 2016-12-09 23:50

It's unprecedented how a simple kids toy such as a silly putty mixed with high conductivity material graphene can hold the key in making health management inexpensive and less invasive.

Graphene is the strongest, thinnest material known to man. It's a layer of bonded carbon atoms making it an efficient conductor and high in flexibility. But when researchers decided to incorporate it with a silly putty, a viscoelastic silicone polymers with unusual physical properties - it can become an extraordinary tool for medical sensors or blood pressure readings. Jonathan Coleman of Trinity College Dublin and his team asssembled a nanometer thick small sheets of graphene and inserted them into the stretchy silicone polymer. They call the new material as G-putty (graphene plus putty). The graphene nanosheets became a microscopic network of electrical conductors inside the putty. The electrical resistance becomes the basis of measurement on the amount of pressure felt by the putty. When the G-putty is held against the pulse-sensitive area of our body, the pulse itself disrupts the electrical current flowing through the graphene as it simultaneously runs by an electrode connected to a computer. “If you touch it even with the slightest pressure or deformation, the electrical resistance will change significantly,” Coleman says. See: Life-Changing Invention Made This Woman with Parkinson’s Write Again! The G-putty is can work as a pressure sensor to measure vital stats or electromechanical sensor to measure vibrations. In fact the G-putty is 250 times more sensitive than the available metal-based sensor in the market. It can even measure a spider's tiniest steps. It's also not invasive, inexpensive and the technology is flexible enough to convert to different methods of using it. Coleman even envisions of incorporating a wearable version of the tech with a mobile app which will send alert to a mobile phone when there's a significant rise and fall of blood pressure. The researchers can further improve on the tech material to convert the stats into vital measurements. I wonder if we can utilize this tech to record how noisy our downstairs neighbors have been. We might need it when we're at our wits' end. The researchers published their work in Science.  
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