At the University of Surrey, a team of researchers has now developed a new biodegradable motion sensor.
The new motion sensor opens the door for implanted nanotechnology that could support future sports professionals in optimized monitoring of their movements to aid quick improvements or assist caregivers to remotely monitor individuals affected by dementia.
In collaboration with Kyung Hee University in South Korea, researchers from Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) have described, in a paper published in the Nano Energy journal, how they built a nano-biomedical motion sensor that can be coupled with artificial intelligence (AI) systems to recognize the movements of various body parts.
The technology developed at ATI is based on an earlier study on triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs), in which the technology was used by the researchers to tap human movements and produce small amounts of electrical energy. Integrating the two could enable the development of self-powered sensors that avoid the need for wired or chemical power sources.
As part of the new study, the research team at ATI created a flexible, durable, and biodegradable TENG from silk cocoon waste. A new alcohol treatment method, which results in higher durability of the device even under humid or harsh environments, was used by the researchers.
We are excited to show the world the immense potential of our durable, silk film based nanogenerator. It’s ability to work in severe environments while being able to generate electricity and monitor human movements positions our TENG in a class of its own when it comes to the technology.
Dr Bhaskar Dudem, Project Lead and Research Fellow, Advanced Technology Institute, University of Surrey
According to Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI, “We are proud of Dr Dudem’s work which is helping the ATI lead the way in developing wearable, flexible, and biocompatible TENGs that efficiently harvest environmental energies.”
If we are to live in a future where autonomous sensing and detecting of pathogens is important, the ability to create both self-powered and wireless biosensors linked to AI is a significant boost.
Ravi Silva, Professor and Director, Advanced Technology Institute, University of Surrey
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), UK, and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) jointly funded this research.
Dudem, B., et al. (2020) Exploring theoretical and experimental optimization towards high-performance triboelectric nanogenerators using microarchitecture silk cocoon films. Nano Energy. doi.org/10.1016/j.nanoen.2020.104882.