A joint Austrian and American team has recently built ultra-thin pressure sensors which can be woven into sensitive textiles. The new thin-film transistors (TFTs) can switch back and forth in reaction to pressure. To achieve this effect, they coupled TFTs with ferroelectrets, which are electrically charged polymer foams that generate an electrical signal in reaction to pressure. After demonstrating pressure sensors for replacement skin or ultra-thin microphones, they are now ready for interactive clothing. For example, these sensitive textiles could be used in hospitals to know if patients have left their beds.
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The team has published the work in Applied Physics Letters.
Flexible ferroelectret field-effect transistor for large-area sensor skins and microphones.
Graz et al., Applied Physics Letters 89, 073501 (2006)(Via ZDNet)