Wearable device makes memories and powers up with the flex of a finger

Wearable device makes memories and powers up with the flex of a finger

News |
By Wisse Hettinga

Researchers have invented an experimental wearable device that generates power from a user’s bending finger and can create and store memories

From the RMIT University website:

The innovation features a single nanomaterial incorporated into a stretchable casing fitted to a person’s finger. The nanomaterial enabled the device to generate power with the user bending their finger.

The super-thin material also allows the device to perform memory tasks, as outlined below.

Multifunctional devices normally require several materials in layers, which involves the time-consuming challenge of stacking nanomaterials with high precision.

PhD scholar Xiangyang Guo holding the wearable device in a petri dish in the team’s lab at RMIT University. Credit: Seamus Daniel, RMIT University

The team, led by RMIT University and the University of Melbourne in collaboration with other Australian and international institutions, made the proof-of-concept device with the rust of a low-temperature liquid metal called bismuth, which is safe and well suited for wearable applications.

Senior lead researcher Dr Ali Zavabeti said the invention could be developed to create medical wearables that monitor vital signs – incorporating the researchers’ recent work with a similar material that enabled gas sensing – and memorise personalised data.

“The innovation was used in our experiments to write, erase and re-write images in nanoscale, so it could feasibly be developed to one day encode bank notes, original art or authentication services,” said Zavabeti, an engineer from RMIT and the University of Melbourne.

The team’s research is published in Advanced Functional Materials.

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