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Touchy-Feely Glove Senses, Maps Tactile Stimuli


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capacitance mapping of smart glove holding a beaker

Capacitance mapping of the smart glove holding a beaker, indicating pressure distributions.

Credit: Nature Communications

A team of engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and China's Southern University of Science and Technology has designed a touch-sensing glove capable of "feeling" tactile stimuli.

An array of pressure-detecting sensors inside the glove can detect weak vibrations across the skin, such as from someone's pulse. The sensors operate similarly to humidity-measuring sensors but use human perspiration in place of a dielectric layer; two thin, flat electrodes on the skin form a circuit, and ions from moisture build on the underside of the sensing electrode in response to pressure, changing capacitance between both electrodes. The researchers enhanced the sensing electrode's sensitivity by lining it with thousands of gold bendable "micropillars."

The researchers believe the tactile glove could help to retrain motor function and coordination in people who have lost fine motor skills and could be modified to enhance virtual reality and gaming.

The team describes its work in "Skin-Electrode Iontronic Interface for Mechanosensing," published in Nature Communications.

From MIT News
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