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Innovative material for soft sensor could bring new tactile tech

A new type of soft and stretchable sensor could find uses in applications ranging from athletics and health monitoring to prosthetics and virtual reality. Called iSoft, the technology is capable of sensing in real time, or without delay, and can perform “multimodal” sensing, or sensing a variety of stimuli such as continuous contact and stretching in all directions. Flexible and wearable sensors are being developed to measure and track body motion, a task made more complex by the human anatomy’s numerous potential contortions. For a wearable sensor to work properly, it must be able to deform accordingly. Unlike some soft sensors developed previously, iSoft can handle continuous contact and also can be easily modified for custom purposes after manufacture. The sensor uses a "piezoresistive elastomer" that when touched changes electrical resistance that provides sensing data. The iSoft platform is promising for various applications from artificial skin in robotics to health monitoring, sports medicine and tactile clothing as an interactive interface.

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