A unique sensor solution for a growing need

Alan Poole is an applications specialist for Danfoss PolyPower A/S. He has a background in Research and Development, Mechanical Engineering and Product Design together with six years’ experience working with electroactive polymers. His current customer facing role at Danfoss PolyPower is focused on finding new applications for electroactive polymer sensors.
Alan just spoke at our WTconference and answered some questions for us in the following:

1. Please explain your product to our readers. What does it do? How does it work? What makes it so special?
Our stretch sensors measure exactly that – stretch. The soft, thin Danfoss PolyPower electroactive polymer film is used to make these highly elastic capacitive sensors, the signal of which changes linearly with stretch. The signal can then be converted to a unit corresponding to stretch, strain, displacement or angle, for example. As far as we know, we are the only company in the world to make such an unobtrusive and conformable capacitive sensor directly measuring stretch.

2. For what specific applications could your new sensor be used in the field of Wearable Technologies?
Again and again we see the interest of applications related to monitoring human movement. These could be in medical, rehabilitation, sports performance or consumer electronics applications for measuring posture, swelling, breathing, range of motion and gait, to name but a few. Intelligent wearable devices, which must interact with their surroundings, will require sensors and those that capture human movement will need to be durable and unobtrusive. We believe we have a unique solution to meet this growing need.

3. What did you exhibit at our WTshow at ISPO and what did people miss when they didn’t attend the European WTconference 2013?
At the ISPO show we showcased a sensor mounted onto an arm sleeve which has been set up to measure elbow angle and via Bluetooth Low Energy communication transmitting to a mobile device. It was presented in the context of measuring a golfer’s left elbow angle as a training device for improving his swing. At the conference I provided the background of the technology, its performance, motivation and versatility, and some application examples.