Wearable multifunctional sensors using printed stretchable conductors made of silver nanowires
Considerable efforts have been made to achieve highly sensitive and wearable sensors that can simultaneously detect multiple stimuli such as stretch, pressure, temperature or touch. Here we develop highly stretchable multifunctional sensors that can detect strain (up to 50%), pressure (up to ∼1.2 MPa) and finger touch with high sensitivity, fast response time (∼40 ms) and good pressure mapping function. The reported sensors utilize the capacitive sensing mechanism, where silver nanowires are used as electrodes (conductors) and Ecoflex is used as a dielectric. The silver nanowire electrodes are screen printed. Our sensors have been demonstrated for several wearable applications including monitoring thumb movement, sensing the strain of the knee joint in patellar reflex (knee-jerk) and other human motions such as walking, running and jumping from squatting, illustrating the potential utilities of such sensors in robotic systems, prosthetics, healthcare and flexible touch panels.