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Monday, April 15, 2024

Lotus leaf-inspired sensors can detect minor strain adjustments

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eAir sensors.

eAir sensors, the gold strips on the round panel, mimic the lotus leaf impact, a phenomenon the place water droplets roll of the leaf’s floor. | Supply: NUS

Researchers on the Nationwide College of Singapore (NUS) have developed eAir, an aero-elastic strain sensor impressed by lotus leaf’s water-repelling constructions. eAir sensors provide elevated precision and reliability for medical purposes over conventional sensors. 

Standard strain sensors typically wrestle with accuracy and consistency. They will return various outcomes when the identical strain is utilized repeatedly or overlook refined adjustments in strain. Moreover, they’re usually created from stiff and mechanically rigid supplies. 

The NUS analysis workforce needed to handle these drawbacks in strain sensing and drew inspiration from a pure phenomenon referred to as the lotus leaf impact, the place water droplets simply roll off the floor of lotus leaves. This occurs due to the lotus leaves’ minuscule, water-repelling constructions. 

The workforce mimicked the lotus leaf impact by reimagining the water-repelling capabilities of the lotus leaf as a pressure-sensing instrument. The eAir sensor has an air spring design, by which the sensor homes a trapped layer of air. This air varieties an air-liquid interface upon contact with the sensor’s liquid. 

Aso, as exterior strain will increase, the air layer compresses. A floor therapy allows frictionless motion of the interface inside the sensor, which triggers a change in electrical indicators that precisely replicate the exerted strain. 

“The sensor, akin to a miniature ‘capability meter’, can detect minute strain adjustments — mirroring the sensitivity of a lotus leaf to the extraordinarily mild contact of a water droplet,” Benjamin Tee, lead researcher and an affiliate professor from the NUS School of Design and Engineering and NUS Institute for Well being Innovation & Expertise, stated.

eAir gadgets could be made a couple of millimeters in measurement, which is similar to the scale of current strain sensors. This know-how may doubtlessly be used to carry out laparoscopic surgical procedures by enabling tactile suggestions for surgeons, which ends up in extra exact manipulation of affected person tissues. 

“When surgeons carry out minimally-invasive surgical procedure corresponding to laparoscopic or robotic surgical procedure, we will management the jaws of the graspers, however we’re unable to really feel what the end-effectors are greedy. Therefore, surgeons should depend on our sense of sight and years of expertise to make a judgment name about essential data that our sense of contact may in any other case present,” Dr. Kaan Hung Leng, a advisor for the Division of Basic Surgical procedure on the Nationwide College Hospital, Ng Teng Fong Basic Hospital and NUS Yong Bathroom Lin College of Drugs, stated.

This gadget is also used to enhance affected person experiences in terms of managing brain-related circumstances, starting from extreme complications to potential mind injury. For instance, it may provide a much less invasive technique of monitoring intracranial strain (ICP), an vital well being metric for individuals with neurological circumstances. 

The workforce’s findings have been not too long ago printed within the journal Nature Supplies. The NUS workforce is laying the groundwork for collaborations with key gamers within the medical subject and has additionally filed a patent for the eAir sensor know-how in Singapore. 

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