A new development from the University of Glasgow in Scotland will allow patients with artificial limbs to gain touch sensitivity in their prosthetics.
While this is impressive in itself, the limbs are also solar-powered, meaning the person wearing the prosthetics never has to worry about charging the devices.
The achievement is made possible by building the pressure sensors so they only consume 20 nanowatts of electricity per square centimeter and then generating that from incident light. The pressure sensors are made of graphene, the 2D material that’s just a sheet of carbon only one atom thick. It is kept transparent so that photovoltaic cells below the graphene sensors can absorb light from the environment.
The pressure sensors are extremely sensitive, detecting touches as gentle as 0.11 kPa, and they produce more than enough power for themselves, prompting the researchers to now work on having them feed excess energy to a battery.
Check out a video of the solar-powered technology below: