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Current issue

ELEKTRO 4/2019 was released on April 17th 2019. Its digital version will be available on May 13th 2019.

Topic: Topic: Electroinstallation; Smart buildings; IoT; HVAC; Security technology

Main Article
Smart Cities (part 9)

SVĚTLO (Light) 2/2019 was released on March 15th 2019. Its digital version will be available immediately.

Architectural and scenic lighting
The architectural lighting of Bečov nad Teplou castle
Lighting design in a nutshell – Part 41
The analyse of light picture a little more theoretic

Day light
Biggest mistakes in day lighting design of buildings

Temperature sensor for artificial skin

30.01.2017 | ETH Zurich | www.ethz.ch

The capacity to detect temperature changes is an important function of the human skin. Researchers at ETH Zurich have now developed a highly sensitive and, at the same time, flexible temperature sensor, which could soon be used in prosthetic limbs and robotic arms.

Serendipity played an important role in the discovery of this temperature sensor. In his research, Raffaele Di Giacomo, who led the project in the laboratory of ETH-professor Daraio, had initially stumbled upon a peculiarity of the vegetable material pectin. Pectin is better known around the household as a gelling agent for puddings and marmalades, but Di Giacomo was interested in a different property of this substance, which is composed of many interconnected sugar molecules.

Temperature sensor for artificial skin

Experiments on tree branches, whose cell walls contain pectin, had shown that their electrical conductivity depended strongly on temperature. To investigate the mechanism behind that dependence, the researchers in Zurich created an artificial “cyberwood” made from pectin and carbon nanotubes.

By measuring the electrical resistance at different temperatures they eventually found that calcium ions trapped at the contact points between two sugar molecules were responsible for the sensing mechanism. The higher the temperature, the more free calcium ions were present in the artificial wood, and hence the better it conducted electrical current.

Read more at ETH Zurich

Image Credit: ETH Zurich / Raffaele di Giacomo

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