A new flexible and transparent pressure sensor material is being developed by Japanese and American researchers and could make breast cancer screening easier. Current pressure sensors are thin enough to fit to human skin but they lose their accuracy once they are twisted or wrinkled. Production methods also make it hard for current pressure sensors to be made below 100 micrometers. This is where Dr. Sungwon Lee and Professor Takao Someya of the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Engineering comes in with his nanofiber-type pressure sensor. This sensor is capable of maintaining pressure distribution over rounded objects and maintain great accuracy, it’s 8 micrometers thick, and can measure 144 points of pressure.
“We’ve also tested the performance of our pressure sensor with an artificial blood vessel and found that it could detect small pressure changes and speed of pressure propagation,” says Lee. He continues, “Flexible electronics have great potential for implantable and wearable devices. I realized that many groups are developing flexible sensors that can measure pressure but none of them are suitable for measuring real objects since they are sensitive to distortion. That was my main motivation and I think we have proposed an effective solution to this problem.”
This technology could very well be integrated into medical applications such as breast cancer screening or most any cancer screening where doctors feel for tumors. The pressure sensors could detect small lumps much more easily than a human hand and possibly better than current breast cancer screening methods. Hopefully this technology makes its way into applications sooner than later as it would be helpful to many patients and might prevent others from further damage.
What do you think of this new flexible and transparent pressure sensor? What other applications do you think this could be used in? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.