Initial development and testing of a novel foam-based pressure sensor for wearable sensing

Lucy E. Dunne, Sarah Brady, Barry Smyth, Dermot Diamond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: This paper provides an overview of initial research conducted in the development of pressure-sensitive foam and its application in wearable sensing. The foam sensor is composed of polypyrrole-coated polyurethane foam, which exhibits a piezo-resistive reaction when exposed to electrical current. The use of this polymer-coated foam is attractive for wearable sensing due to the sensor's retention of desirable mechanical properties similar to those exhibited by textile structures. Methods: The development of the foam sensor is described, as well as the development of a prototype sensing garment with sensors in several areas on the torso to measure breathing, shoulder movement, neck movement, and scapula pressure. Sensor properties were characterized, and data from pilot tests was examined visually. Results: The foam exhibits a positive linear conductance response to increased pressure. Torso tests show that it responds in a predictable and measurable manner to breathing, shoulder movement, neck movement, and scapula pressure. Conclusion: The polypyrrole foam shows considerable promise as a sensor for medical, wearable, and ubiquitous computing applications. Further investigation of the foam's consistency of response, durability over time, and specificity of response is necessary

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
Volume2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005

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