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EETE JULAUG 2013

FLEXIBLE ELECTRONICS Fully instrumented sock integrates smart fabrics sensors to provide fitness data Washington-based startup company Heapsylon has launched an USD87,000 crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to finalize product development and manufacturing of its Sensoria Fitness system. This includes smart socks with smart fabrics sensors, an electronic anklet for communicating the data with the user’s mobile phone, and a virtual coach mobile app. The sock shaped Sensoria device is able to tracks everything from foot landing and stride cadence to activity level and altitude gain. The specially chemically-treated fabric Sensors are able to measure pressure points for a detailed analysis of the foot’s contact with the sole. With these socks on, every time you walk, run and exercise you are generating valuable data that can be processed to produce meaningful views of your activity and the way you use your whole body (in this instance, the way you articulate your feet onto the ground). The sensor filled sock is comfortable, washable and designed for runners. The smart fabrics Sensors send pressure data to the Sensoria Anklet. The Sensoria Anklet uploads data wirelessly either via computer or through a smartphone. The data is then added to a dashboard for either retrospective analysis or instant coaching. After over two years of research and development the Heapsylon Sensoria wearable devices are now at prototype stage, with appropriate funding, the devices could be commercialized in 2014 for about $150. Heapsylon www.heapsylon.com Touch screen technology goes behind the display Peratech has used its recently launched QTC Ultra sensor to create a touch screen solution for OLED displays for phones, monitors and large interactive displays. The QTC Ultra sensor is so sensitive that it can be placed behind the OLED display and still detect finger touches on the front of the display to create a touch screen interface. By positioning the touch screen sensor behind the display, there is no loss of light from the display enabling the battery life to be longer. Currently, Sensors go over the display and absorb light which has to be compensated for with a brighter setting for the display and that uses up more battery life. The QTC Ultra sensor works best with OLED and e-paper type displays, which are becoming increasingly popular, although it can be used with other display technologies providing they can be pressed. The Sensors rely on Peratech’s Quantum Tunnelling Composite (QTC) anisotropic material which changes its resistance at the point where pressure is applied. A deflection of a micron or so is needed for QTC Ultra to sense the touch through the layers of glass and display. The solution provides not only multi-touch x and y co-ordinates but also z according to the amount of pressure applied enabling new gesture inputs to be created. The layer of QTC material is printed as a QTC ink on the back of the display as required by the product designer. Peratech www.peratech.com Translucent flexible antenna film is only 130 to 185 microns thin Pulse Electronics’ mLUX Translucent Flex antenna is an invi sible antenna concept that allows light and colour to shine through the translucent device cover, offering multiple options for industrial design. When integrated into the display, the antenna enables increased use of metal on the back cover of the handset. The mLUX flex antenna provides state-of-the-art RF performance and can be placed as far away as possible from the ground plane and the user’s hand, improving performance significantly. The device thickness can be reduced while achieving the same performance as standard flex antenna solutions. The antenna can be assembled to the display, covers, or a separate carrier with adhesive or, alternatively, it can be moulded between clear and opaque plastics. When the antenna is placed near the display, smaller feeding elements can be used, reducing the total volume needed for the antenna. Total thickness of the flex is 130-185μm with a copper (Cu) thickness of 12μm. Non-pattern areas are filled with mesh to achieve a surface that is equally reflective throughout. The Cu mesh line-width is 12-20μm with 300μm pitch and the flex transmittance is typically around 80%. These RoHS compliant antennas are customized for each application and design and are available and ready for volume manufacture. Pulse Electronics www.pulseelectronics.com 36 Electronic Engineering Times Europe July/August 2013 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE JULAUG 2013
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