Haptic touch sensor powered by static electricity

October 05, 2020 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
KIST develop haptic touch sensor that works by static electricity
Haptic touch sensor based on a triboelectric generator features a two-dimensional crumpled nanostructure to enable 40% higher efficiency.

As the IoT evolves, tiny, low-power sensors and devices that can receive and send signals anytime and anywhere will become the norm. However, powering such a sensor or device is problematic due to size, weight and charging constraints off batteries. Also, changing batteries in countless devices raises a logistical nightmare. Researchers have proposed the triboelectric generator as a solution to the problem if they can be downsized for wearable electronics such as haptic sensors. The triboelectric generator provides energy in a semi-permanent manner by inducing triboelectricity from contact between different materials, just as how static electricity is produced in everyday life.

The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) has announced that a team of researchers led by Dr. Seoung-Ki Lee at the Center for Functional Composite Material Research have developed a haptic touch sensor that enhances the triboelectrification efficiency by more than 40% by forming crumple structured molybdenum disulfide through a joint study with Chang-Kyu Jeong, Professor of Advanced Materials Engineering at JeonBuk National University.

Today, general triboelectric generators excessively large and heavy at the required power levels for wearable electronic devices. Studies are being carried out that involve applying a two-dimensional semiconductor material that is atomically thin as an active layer in generating triboelectricity.

Image of wearable touch sensor on flexible substrate. Image courtesy of Korea Institue of Science and Technology (KIST).

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