Scientists have designed highly sensitive, durable and flexible spider-inspired mechanical sensors which can detect and record music, recognise speech patterns and monitor heart rates.
The sensors are based on a crack-shaped slit organ which spiders have on their legs, which allows them to detect extremely small vibrations from their surroundings.
The system is highly sensitive, durable and flexible, making it a suitable for wearable electronics applications.
The crack-shaped slit organs on spider exoskeletons sense movements by opening and closing in response to external forces.
Mansoo Choi of Seoul National University and colleagues mimic the geometry of this slit organ by producing a platinum film with cracks in it, through which vibrations can be measured as changes in conductivity as the cracks open and close.
The sensor can monitor minute vibrations caused by sound waves.
This capability is demonstrated by mounting the device on a violin and converting the measured string vibrations into digital signals that accurately record the harmonic frequency of each note.
When attached to a human neck, the sensor can recognise simple words, such as “go”, “jump”, “shoot” and “stop”, used as commands for a computer game.
The sensor can also be worn on the wrist to measure the heartbeat.
The work was announced in the journal Nature.
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