Robots & Machines

New Flexible Thin Ribbon Could Monitor Health and Infrastructure in Real-Time

Hashem AL-ghailiAugust 17th 2015
  • Researchers at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are creating foldable material that allows the circuitry to fit into extremely tight spaces and even to be integrated into complex curved surfaces, such as an airplane’s wing, or even a person’s skin.
  • The hybrid flexible system can be used to monitor stress and strains and report this information through miniature embedded antennas to ground crews or a pilot. For health measurement, the approach involves a biosensor system that can measure heartbeat, hydration levels, sweat,temperature and other vital signs through miniature circuitry. The system would be embedded on a flexible, wearable patch and would include an antenna to transmit these biometric signals to the pilot or a ground team.

  • Another military application the Air Force is pursuing is use of a flexible hybrid system in “bunker buster” bombs, which detonate after penetrating deep in the earth. The flexible systems could also be used to monitor the conditions of bridges and other types of infrastructure in real time.

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