Another interesting demo was that of a capacitive-based pressure/force sensor demonstrated by Dr Yarjan Abdul Samad, research associate at the Cambridge Graphene Centre. By screen-printing graphene on both sides of a thin transparent plastic film, Samad and his team have developed cheap and flexible capacitive-based force sensors that could be used embedded in soles for running or gaming applications, but also for medical applications such as gait analysis. Here the demonstration consisted of a snowboarding video game where the player’s avatar (leaning forwards or sideways while surfing in snowy curves) could entirely be controlled through sensor-equipped shoes.
Heading up the startup Camsmart Technologies recently spun-off Cambridge University, improvised CEO Samad aims to commercialise the sensors. The startup is seeking partners to develop new solutions on a project basis, creating a library of designs and IP to address different market segments including industrial, medical and gaming.
Founded in 2017, Manchester-based startup Atomic Mechanics was here to promote fully transparent flexible and stretchable graphene-polymer films turned into organic MEMS (Micro Electromechanical Systems) to create force-touch sensitive interfaces. Described as MEMS-TI, the MEMS consist of polymer-supported conductive graphene films freely suspended over a cavity. When a pressure is applied to the film, deformation of the graphene inward the cavity can be measured through the change of its electrical properties. But the same pressure/force sensor could be driven electrically as an actuator for haptic applications, claims the company on its website.
The startup expects to be able to manufacture such MEMS devices in large quantities at a competitive price point. It wants to offer large-area transparent force/touch sensor arrays as interface overlays for screens of all sizes, possibly including haptic feedback all in one layer, with a high spatial resolution. Atomic Mechanics didn’t want to leak any specs yet but is working on a commercial release soon.
GrapheneTech S.L. - www.graphene-tech.net
ICN2 – www.icn2.cat
Cambridge University - www.cam.ac.uk
University of Tartu - www.ut.ee
Atomic Mechanics - www.atomic-mechanics.com
The Graphene Flagship - www.graphene-flagship.eu