December 6, 2023

Researchers at Pohang College of Science & Know-how in South Korea have developed a sturdy pressure sensor that may detect complicated physique actions. The expertise might be helpful for sufferers present process bodily rehabilitation, permitting bodily therapists to evaluate their actions in important element and measure progress. Typical pressure sensors are sometimes affected by warmth and humidity, making them much less sturdy as a wearable, they usually sometimes detect solely biaxial pressure, offering much less element than these new sensors. The brand new expertise makes use of pc imaginative and prescient, whereby an algorithm evaluations digital photographs of the sensor deformation and calculates the actions of the sensor wearer.    

Bodily rehabilitation permits sufferers to regain mobility after an harm, illness or medical process. Bodily therapists and clinicians are all for characterizing the actions of such sufferers, resembling figuring out their vary of movement, gait, and so forth. This not solely permits them to quantify a affected person’s mobility, however monitor progress over time.

Thus far, researchers have developed loads of new applied sciences that may assist on this enviornment, from movement sensors to wearables. Pressure sensors hooked up to the pores and skin are a helpful solution to assess motion in particular areas of the physique, however current sensors have some limitations. This features a difficult manufacturing course of, and vulnerability to temperature and humidity, which is a disadvantage for an object anticipated to reside in shut contact with the pores and skin. They’ll additionally solely sometimes measure pressure in two axes.

To develop a greater sensor, these researchers turned to optical sensors that make use of pc imaginative and prescient to measure pressure. This includes a miniature digicam inside the sensor that views a micropatterned silicon movie that strikes with the pores and skin. The digicam can view the movie as it’s deformed by the wearer’s bodily actions, after which the system can use pc imaginative and prescient methods to interpret these actions.

The researchers have known as their expertise pc vision-based optical pressure (CVOS) sensors, and up to now have proven that the sensors can detect rotational actions in three axes and may present multiaxial pressure mapping in actual time. The system additionally incorporates an AI algorithm that works to scale back artifacts and errors within the knowledge, and the sensors are sturdy, sustaining their efficiency over 10,000 cycles of use.

“The CVOS sensors excel in distinguishing physique actions throughout numerous route and angles, thereby optimizing efficient rehabilitative interventions,” stated Sung-Min Park, a researcher concerned within the examine. “By tailoring design indicators and algorithms to align with particular targets, CVOS sensors have boundless potential for functions spanning industries.”     

Examine in journal npj Versatile Electronics: Real-time multiaxial strain mapping using computer vision integrated optical sensors

Through: Pohang University of Science & Technology