Scientists at UCLA developed a programmable, flexible, waterproof, and wearable Human-Machine Interface which can be used to control machines, computers, music players, and other systems
Scientists invented the system which is built around a soft magnetoelastic sensor array that transforms mechanical pressure from a finger press into an electrical signal. The system consists of a layer that converts mechanical movement into a magnetic response and a layer for magnetic induction that is made up of coils of patterned liquid material. This waterproof HMI overcomes the hurdle of conventional HMI not working due to the presence of sweat on human skin. The energy needed for efficient working of HMI is provided by the wearer’s movements. This eliminates the need for any external batteries or any other power resources. This renders the HMI to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
“Owing to the material’s flexibility and durability, the magnetoelastic sensor array can generate stable power under deformations, such as rolling, folding, and stretching,” said author Jun Chen, from UCLA. “Due to these compelling features, the device can be adapted for human-body powered HMI by transforming human biomechanical activities into electrical signals.”
The Researchers conducted a series of experiments in which a participant used finger taps to operate a music player and turn a lamp on and off to evaluate their system. To maximize the conversion of biomechanical to electrical energy, the researchers looked at a variety of fabrication and assembly processes. They observed that by varying the thickness of the flexible film and the concentration of the magnetic particles, they could strike balance between performance and flexibility.
“Our magnetoelastic sensor array not only wirelessly functions as the on and off buttons of a lamp but also controls a music player’s command features, representing the actions of play, pause, next, and previous,” Chen said. Further research on this invention promises new applications for versatile water-resistant HMIs to control multiple types of smart devices.