According to a new development, 3-D printing of transparent conducting fibers can find use for detection of human senses, viz. hear, smell, and touch. In particular, such a development for capture of breath to guiding biological cell movements, makes it useful for health monitoring, biosensing applications, and Internet of Things.
To create this, researchers at the University of Cambridge employed 3-D printing, aka additive manufacturing. The technique was employed to make electronic fibers, with a thickness 100 times lesser than a human hair, thus creating sensors beyond the capabilities of conventional film-based devices.
The technique for fiber printing reported in the Sciences Advances, can find use to fabricate portable, non-contact, wearable respiratory sensors. Featuring low cost and high-sensitivity, these printed sensors can be connected to a mobile phone to collect information of breath pattern, sound and images at the same time.
Fiber Sensor outperforms commercial sensors
The fiber sensor fabricated was used to test the amount of breath moisture escaped through his face mask, for respiratory conditions such as rapid breathing, normal breathing, and simulated coughing. This revealed performance of fiber sensors significantly superior comparable commercial sensors, especially for monitoring rapid breathing.
Meanwhile, the design of the fiber sensor is not to detect viral particles. This is because, according to scientific evidence, transmission of viral particles such as coronavirus increasingly points at respiratory droplets and aerosols. However, the fiber sensor measures the amount and direction of breath moisture that leaks through different types of face covers that could act as an indicator for the protection of weak points.
Most of the leakage from fabric or surgical masks are associated with the front, especially during coughing, found the team.