Archive for the ‘wearables’ category

Sep 15, 2021

Lithium-ion batteries just made a big leap in a tiny product

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability, transportation, wearables

Sila’s novel anode materials packed far more energy into a new Whoop fitness wearable. The company hopes to do the same soon for electric vehicles.

Sep 8, 2021

Stretching the capacity of flexible energy storage

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology, robotics/AI, wearables

Some electronics can bend, twist and stretch in wearable displays, biomedical applications and soft robots. While these devices’ circuits have become increasingly pliable, the batteries and supercapacitors that power them are still rigid. Now, researchers in ACS’ Nano Letters report a flexible supercapacitor with electrodes made of wrinkled titanium carbide — a type of MXene nanomaterial — that maintained its ability to store and release electronic charges after repetitive stretching.

One major challenge stretchable electronics must overcome is the stiff and inflexible nature of their energy storage components, batteries and supercapacitors. Supercapacitors that use electrodes made from transitional metal carbides, carbonitrides or nitrides, called MXenes, have desirable electrical properties for portable flexible devices, such as rapid charging and discharging. And the way that 2D MXenes can form multi-layered nanosheets provides a large surface area for energy storage when they’re used in electrodes. However, previous researchers have had to incorporate polymers and other nanomaterials to keep these types of electrodes from breaking when bent, which decreases their electrical storage capacity. So, Desheng Kong and colleagues wanted to see if deforming a pristine titanium carbide MXene film into accordion-like ridges would maintain the electrode’s electrical properties while adding flexibility and stretchability to a supercapacitor.

The researchers disintegrated titanium aluminum carbide powder into flakes with hydrofluoric acid and captured the layers of pure titanium carbide nanosheets as a roughly textured film on a filter. Then they placed the film on a piece of pre-stretched acrylic elastomer that was 800% its relaxed size. When the researchers released the polymer, it shrank to its original state, and the adhered nanosheets crumpled into accordion-like wrinkles.

Sep 3, 2021

Graphene made with lasers for wearable health devices

Posted by in categories: health, particle physics, wearables

Graphene, hexagonally arranged carbon atoms in a single layer with superior pliability and high conductivity, could advance flexible electronics according to a Penn State-led international research team. Huanyu “Larry” Cheng, Dorothy Quiggle Career Development Professor in Penn State’s Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM), heads the collaboration, which recently published two studies that could inform research and development of future motion detection, tactile sensing and health monitoring devices.

Investigating how laser processing affects graphene form and function

Several substances can be converted into carbon to create graphene through . Called laser-induced graphene (LIG), the resulting product can have specific properties determined by the original material. The team tested this process and published their results in SCIENCE CHINA Technological Sciences.

Sep 2, 2021

Paving the path to electrically-pumped lasers from colloidal-quantum-dot solutions

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, computing, quantum physics, wearables

In a new review article in Nature Photonics, scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory assess the status of research into colloidal quantum dot lasers with a focus on prospective electrically pumped devices, or laser diodes. The review analyzes the challenges for realizing lasing with electrical excitation, discusses approaches to overcome them, and surveys recent advances toward this objective.

“Colloidal quantum dot lasers have tremendous potential in a range of applications, including integrated optical circuits, wearable technologies, lab-on-a-chip devices, and advanced medical imaging and diagnostics,” said Victor Klimov, a senior researcher in the Chemistry division at Los Alamos and lead author of the cover article in Nature Photonics. “These solution-processed quantum dot present unique challenges, which we’re making good progress in overcoming.”

Heeyoung Jung and Namyoung Ahn, also of Los Alamos’ Chemistry division, are coauthors.

Continue reading “Paving the path to electrically-pumped lasers from colloidal-quantum-dot solutions” »

Aug 31, 2021

Young visually impaired Southampton fans finally see football clearly thanks to Virgin Media

Posted by in category: wearables

Two young visually impaired Southampton fans were finally able to be mascots and watch their beloved Saints in action against Manchester United at the weekend thanks to life-changing wearable technology provided by Virgin Media.

Florence and Joshua both experience issues with their eyesight, meaning that they have never been able to clearly see their favourite team play. Back in March 2,020 Virgin Media gave them cutting-edge technology before they were due to take on the role of mascots for the game against Manchester City.

Aug 31, 2021

Smart ‘E-Skin’ Identifies Your Movements

Posted by in categories: chemistry, engineering, nanotechnology, wearables

Technion scientists have created a wearable motion sensor capable of identifying movements such as bending and twisting. This smart ‘e-skin’ was produced using a highly stretchable electronic material, which essentially forms an electronic skin capable of recognizing the range of movement human joints normally make, with up to half a degree precision.

This breakthrough is the result of collaborative work between researchers from different fields in the Laboratory for Nanomaterial-Based Devices, headed by Professor Hossam Haick from the Technion Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering. It was recently published in Advanced Materials and was featured on the journal’s cover.

This wearable motion sensor, which senses bending and twisting, can be applied in healthcare and manufacturing.

Continue reading “Smart ‘E-Skin’ Identifies Your Movements” »

Aug 28, 2021

Hospital on a chip

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI, wearables

Circa 2009

The researchers expect to have a working prototype of the product in four years. “We are just at the beginning of this project,” Wang said. “During the first two years, our primary focus will be on the sensor systems. Integrating enzyme logic onto electrodes that can read biomarker inputs from the body will be one of our first major challenges.”

“Achieving the goal of the program is estimated to take nearly a decade,” Chrisey said.

Continue reading “Hospital on a chip” »

Aug 19, 2021

Protocell trainers made from 3D-printed protocells

Posted by in categories: biological, wearables

Circa 2013

Wearable Futures: London designer and researcher Shamees Aden is developing a concept for running shoes that would be 3D-printed from synthetic biological material and could repair themselves overnight.

Shamees Aden’s Protocells trainer would be 3D-printed to the exact size of the user’s foot from a material that would fit like a second skin. It would react to pressure and movement created when running, puffing up to provide extra cushioning where required.

Continue reading “Protocell trainers made from 3D-printed protocells” »

Aug 12, 2021

How to Get Smarter: Start With the Brain Itself

Posted by in categories: education, health, neuroscience, wearables

The Future of Everything covers the innovation and technology transforming the way we live, work and play, with monthly issues on health, money, cities and more. This month is Education & Learning, online starting Aug. 6 and in the paper on Aug. 13.

No one has yet deciphered the brain signals that encode a complex thought, turn an idea into words or make a lasting memory. But powerful clues are emerging to drive the neurotechnology of learning, scientists say.

On the frontier of neuroscience, researchers are inventing devices to enhance learning abilities, from wearable nerve stimulators that boost mental focus to headsets for wireless brain-to-brain communication.

Aug 11, 2021

Biomimetic chameleon soft robot with artificial crypsis and disruptive coloration skin

Posted by in categories: military, nanotechnology, robotics/AI, wearables

Artificial camouflage is the functional mimicry of the natural camouflage that can be observed in a wide range of species1,2,3. Especially, since the 1800s, there were a lot of interesting studies on camouflage technology for military purposes which increases survivability and identification of an anonymous object as belonging to a specific military force4,5. Along with previous studies on camouflage technology and natural camouflage, artificial camouflage is becoming an important subject for recently evolving technologies such as advanced soft robotics1,6,7,8 electronic skin in particular9,10,11,12. Background matching and disruptive coloration are generally claimed to be the underlying principles of camouflage covering many detailed subprinciples13, and these necessitate not only simple coloration but also a selective expression of various disruptive patterns according to the background. While the active camouflage found in nature mostly relies on the mechanical action of the muscle cells14,15,16, artificial camouflage is free from matching the actual anatomies of the color-changing animals and therefore incorporates much more diverse strategies17,18,19,20,21,22, but the dominant technology for the practical artificial camouflage at visible regime (400–700 nm wavelength), especially RGB domain, is not fully established so far. Since the most familiar and direct camouflage strategy is to exhibit a similar color to the background23,24,25, a prerequisite of an artificial camouflage at a unit device level is to convey a wide range of the visible spectrum that can be controlled and changed as occasion demands26,27,28. At the same time, the corresponding unit should be flexible and mechanically robust, especially for wearable purposes, to easily cover the target body as attachable patches without interrupting the internal structures, while being compatible with the ambient conditions and the associated movements of the wearer29,30.

System integration of the unit device into a complete artificial camouflage device, on the other hand, brings several additional issues to consider apart from the preceding requirements. Firstly, the complexity of the unit device is anticipated to be increased as the sensor and the control circuit, which are required for the autonomous retrieval and implementation of the adjacent color, are integrated into a multiplexed configuration. Simultaneously, for nontrivial body size, the concealment will be no longer effective with a single unit unless the background consists of a monotone. As a simple solution to this problem, unit devices are often laterally pixelated12,18 to achieve spatial variation in the coloration. Since its resolution is determined by the numbers of the pixelated units and their sizes, the conception of a high-resolution artificial camouflage device that incorporates densely packed arrays of individually addressable multiplexed units leads to an explosive increase in the system complexity. While on the other hand, solely from the perspective of camouflage performance, the delivery of high spatial frequency information is important for more natural concealment by articulating the texture and the patterns of the surface to mimic the microhabitats of the living environments31,32. As a result, the development of autonomous and adaptive artificial camouflage at a complete device level with natural camouflage characteristics becomes an exceptionally challenging task.

Our strategy is to combine thermochromic liquid crystal (TLC) ink with the vertically stacked multilayer silver (Ag) nanowire (NW) heaters to tackle the obstacles raised from the earlier concept and develop more practical, scalable, and high-performance artificial camouflage at a complete device level. The tunable coloration of TLC, whose reflective spectrum can be controlled over a wide range of the visible spectrum within the narrow range of temperature33,34, has been acknowledged as a potential candidate for artificial camouflage applications before21,34, but its usage has been more focused on temperature measurement35,36,37,38 owing to its high sensitivity to the temperature change. The susceptible response towards temperature is indeed an unfavorable feature for the thermal stability against changes in the external environment, but also enables compact input range and low power consumption during the operation once the temperature is accurately controlled.

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