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Electronics news

Using ForceSticker

Have the ForceSticker with you at all times as a battery-less miniature sensor to measure the force that is exerted on objects.

The success of AI systems depends largely on their ability to perceive their surroundings. A lot of effort has gone into perfecting sensors that can capture visual and auditory data. But to accurately understand and interact with our surroundings, we need to be aware of the forces around us.

The load cells used are bulky, expensive, and require a constant power source to operate. They are not suitable for portable systems where a large number of force points need to be monitored.

A team of engineers at the University of California, San Diego, has developed a lightweight ForceSticker device that works without batteries. It receives power wirelessly from radio waves, a mystical energy field.

ForceSticker consists of a capacitor and a radio frequency identification (RFID) sticker. The capacitor consists of a pair of copper strips with a thin sheet of polymer between them. When a force is applied to the sensor, the polymer is compressed, causing the conductive copper strips to come closer together and increasing the electrical charge in the capacitor.

The level of electrical charge changes the data transmitted by the RFID sticker. The data is read by a remote device, which provides the energy needed by the sticker to transmit the data.

However, the appropriate polymer sheet is selected for each application. Thinner sheets allow the ForceSticker to measure smaller forces, while thicker sheets are used to measure larger forces.

Experiments conducted by the researchers have shown that the sensors can be used in practice. They are highly durable and can be manufactured at a cost of less than two dollars. In the future, such sensors will be mounted on all sorts of objects to collect data. Currently, the team is thinking about how to simplify the reading of data from ForceSticker, they think to "tie" it to a smartphone, for convenience.