Operate your cellphone without touching it

You could soon operate your cellphone just at the point of a finger, without even having to touch the display-thanks to touchless control made of printable polymer sensors.

The sensors, just like human skin, react to the tiniest fluctuations in temperature and differences in pressure and recognize the finger as it approaches.

And the feat has been achieved, owing to the efforts of the research scientists involved in the EU project 3Plast, which stands for ‘Printable pyroelectrical and piezoelectrical large area sensor technology’.

The companies and institutes involved from industry and research have set themselves the goal of mass producing pressure and temperature sensors which can be cheaply printed onto plastic film and flexibly affixed to a wide range of everyday objects, such as electronic equipment.

“The sensor consists of pyroelectrical and piezoelectrical polymers which can now be processed in high volumes by screen printing, for example. The sensor is combined with an organic transistor, which strengthens the sensor signal. It’s strongest where the finger is. The special thing about our sensor is that the transistor can also be printed,” explained Gerhard Domann, who is in charge of the project.

The production of polymer sensors still poses a number of challenges.

To produce printable transistors, the insulation materials have to be very thin.

However, the experts at the ISC have succeeded in producing an insulator, which is only 100 nanometers thick.

The first sensors have already been printed onto film.

The research scientists are currently working on optimised transistors, which can amplify rapid changes in temperature and pressure.

“By providing everyday objects with information about their environment, for example whether a person is approachingit by means of pressure and temperature sensors, we can create and market new devices that can be controlled just by pointing a finger,” said Domann.

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March 23, 2010. Uncategorized.

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