A team of researchers from the University of Surrey recently introduced a new biodegradable sensor that requires no batteries to operate. This new device marks a milestone in the direction of implanted nanotechnology, which can support athletes by monitoring health and tracking progress or caregivers who may need to monitor the health and movements of patients.
The research was carried out by a team from Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI), in partnership with Kyung Hee University, South Korea. Their research paper explains how they developed a nano-biomedical motion sensor that teams with AI systems to identify movements of various body parts.
The new technology is partially derived from previous research on Triboelectric Nanogenerators (TENG). TENG was used to harness human movements and produce small amounts of electrical energy. The combination of these two steps provided means to self-powered sensors that needed no chemicals or wired power sources to work.
The team eventually came up with a flexible, biodegradable and long-lasting TENG from silk cocoon waste. The improved durability of the product works well even under humid and harsh conditions.
“We are excited to show the world the immense potential of our durable, silk film based nanogenerator,” said project lead and Research Fellow at Surrey, Dr Bhaskar Dudem. “It’s the ability to work in several environments while being able to generate electricity and monitor human movements positions our TENG in a class of its own when it comes to the technology.”
Professor Ravi Silva, the Director at the Surrey Institute, added: “We are proud of Dr Dudem’s work which is helping the ATI lead the way in developing wearable, flexible, and biocompatible TENGs that efficiently harvest environmental energies. If we are to live in a future where autonomous sensing and detecting of pathogens is important, the ability to create both self-powered and wireless biosensors linked to AI is a significant boost.”