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Current issue

ELEKTRO 2/2019 was released on February 13th 2019. Its digital version will be available on March 11th 2019.

Topic: Electrical appliances – switching, protective, signalling and special

Main Article
Advanced power converter topology
Smart Cities (part 7)

SVĚTLO (Light) 1/2019 was released on February 4th 2019. Its digital version will be available on March 5th 2019.

Fairs and exhibitions
Invitation at LIGHT IN ARCHITECTURE exhibition
Prolight + Sound 2019: keep up with time
The light at For Arch 2018 fair

Public lighting
Lights of towns and communities 2018 – the meeting at the round table

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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