A team of engineers from Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah University of Science and Technology has developed a low-cost sensor using everyday materials found in the kitchen that can detect external stimuli like pressure, temperature, acidity and humidity.
Called "Paper Skin", the sensor "has the potential to revolutionise the electronics industry and opens the door to commercialising affordable high-performance sensing devices", said Muhammad Mustafa Hussain, KAUST associate professor of electrical engineering from the university's integrated nanotechnology lab.
The team, whose work was published in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies, used sticky note paper to detect humidity, sponges and wipes to detect pressure and aluminium foil to detect motion.
Colouring a sticky note with a pencil allowed the paper to detect acidity levels and aluminium foil and conductive silver ink were used to detect temperature differences.
The materials were put together into a simple paper-based platform that was then connected to a device that detected changes in electrical conductivity according to external stimuli.
Previous efforts in this direction used sophisticated materials or processes.
"Chemically functionalised inkjet printed or vacuum technology-processed papers -- albeit cheap -- have shown limited functionalities. Here we show a scalable 'garage' fabrication approach using off-the-shelf and inexpensive household elements," Hussain added.
The device may find wide-ranging applications in medical monitoring systems, robotics, vehicular technology and environmental surveys.