Korean scientists developed sensor based communicative system for panplegia patients

Dec 21, 2017, 5:30 am

Aniruddha P.

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Yesterday, POSTECH (Pohang University of Science and Technology) revealed about its newly developed tech for panplegia (paralysis of four extremities) patients.

The tech is a multi-purpose sensor derived from the touch sense of spider’s feet. The insect’s tactile sense transmitted via its feet is as sensitive feeling as a fly’s wing vibration. This sensitive touch is used by the sensor, making it a communicative system for the patients to speak the words they want to.

The team of scientists behind the development was led by professor Cho Sung-jin of Chungnam National University and Professor Im Keun-bae of POSTECH. They created a ‘nanostructure of a metal layer by simulating the spider’s foot system’. The communication system is developed based on the nanostructure, a sensor, and Morse code.

The results of the entire research were announced via the ACS Applied Materials and Interface. It was found in the analysis that the sensor in the spider’s foot can not only detect joint movements, but also delicate movements like skin flinching.

The scientists simulated the foot structure for creating nano-sized cracks. The structure was further used to create a sensor with the ability to feel strain and elasticity. The sensor’s measurement range was maximized by optimizing the nano-crack structure. This provided the ability to the sensor to measure fine movements like that of the pulse, as well as big movements of the joints.

The sensor will likely be used in medical robots and smart healthcare systems that can be infused into wearable devices for self-diagnosis. It can be used in various other fields as well, and its simple and low-cost production process surpasses the same of other sensors. This gives an opening to the industrial world for expansively understanding and implementing as per the abilities of the tech.

The scientists’ team demonstrated another tech that lets the patients with generalized paralysis communicate with people, by using microscopic movements of fingerprints, eye blinks, and the Morse code. The system is able enough to measure invisible vibrations as well. For expressing words, it was explained that ‘The length of blinks of the eye is assigned to the Morse code so that a word is expressed.’

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