Though still in the research stage, a development at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC in Würzburg, Germany could, one day, find use in plastics processing applications. Those researchers have developed sensors capable of expanding up to twice their original length and so flexible as to go virtually unnoticed if worn inside clothing.
The first public showing of these sensors will be at the Sensor+Test trade fair in Nuremberg from June 7 - 9, 2011. Potential applications could include in car seats, so that an air bag recognizes not only that someone is in a seat but also at which angle he is sitting.
"The sensor films can measure stretch, as well as pressure," says Holger Böse, scientific and technical manager of the ISC's Smart Materials center. He explains that the sensors are made form "a highly stretchable elastomeric film, coated on both sides with flexible electrodes."