Scientists create wearable sensors from graphene and rubber bands
Jonathan Coleman, a professor of chemical physics at TCD along with his fellow scientists have developed a new technology that combines Graphene with rubber bands to create wearable sensors. Graphene is a very thin, nearly transparent sheet of carbon atoms that conducts heat and electricity with great efficiency. Rubber is not a good conductor of electricity, however the addition of Graphene makes them electrically conductive without degrading their mechanical properties. Therefore, this fusion of rubber bands and graphene is perfect for creating wearable sensors.
Led by Coleman, a team of scientists which were part of the Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research (Amber) conducted many tests which revealed results that any current flowing through the graphene-bathed rubber bands was affected very strongly if the band was stretched. Thus, when attached to clothing, slightest movements such as breath and pulse can be sensed by the band.
Such wearable sensors developed from widely available rubber can be used to monitor blood pressure and respiration. Also they can be used as an early warning system for cot death and sleep Apnoea. If woven to clothes, such type of flexible and stretchable graphene-infused rubber material will be able to monitor movements of athletes or patients that are undergoing physical rehabilitation.