Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed electronic “stickers” that measure the force exerted by one object upon another
The force stickers are wireless, run without batteries and fit in tight spaces. That makes them versatile for a wide range of applications, from arming robots with a sense of touch to elevating the immersive experience of VR and AR, making biomedical devices smarter, monitoring the safety of industrial equipment, and improving the accuracy and efficiency of inventory management in warehouses.
They could be used, for example, in knee implants to measure the forces that implants exert on the joint. Having the ability to sense changes in these forces can be useful for monitoring an implant’s fit, as well as wear and tear. Force stickers could also be placed on the bottom of warehouse packages to measure the weight of their contents, acting as miniature scales for checking inventory.
“These force stickers could make technology more intelligent, interactive and intuitive,” said Dinesh Bharadia, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. “Humans, by nature, possess an inherent ability to sense force. This allows us to interact seamlessly with our surroundings and enables clinicians to perform delicate surgical procedures. Providing this force-sensing ability to electronic devices and medical implants could be a game-changer for many industries.”