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  • Optical Sensor System Uses Artificial ‘Skins’

Sep 2008
BRUSSELS -- A sensor system relying on stretchable skinlike polymer films that could help patients avoid bedsores is being developed by a European consortium. The project, PHOSFOS (Photonic Skins for Optical Sensing), was coordinated by Vrije Universiteit Brussel and is being funded by the European Commission.

The films are sensitive to pressure, touch and deformation and can be adapted to health care or civil engineering applications. Sensitivity is provided by an optical sensor system that is built with dedicated glass and polymer optical fibres and that is connected to optical sources and detectors — and all are integrated within the film.

The photograph shows a photonic crystal fibre with fibre Bragg gratings integrated in a polymer skin and illuminated with supercontinuum light. Courtesy of Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Other Belgian contributors to the project are IMEC and Ghent University. Additional institutes are Aston University in the UK; Wroclaw University of Technology and Marie Curie-Sklodowska University, both in Poland; and Cyprus University of Technology in Cyprus.

Astasense Ltd. of the UK and FOS&S of Geel, Belgium, will industrialize the artificial “skins” and bring them to market.

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