Eye motion triggered self-powered mechnosensational communication system using triboelectric nanogenerator

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Science Advances  28 Jul 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 7, e1700694
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700694


Mechnosensational human-machine interfaces (HMIs) can greatly extend communication channels between human and external devices in a natural way. The mechnosensational HMIs based on biopotential signals have been developing slowly owing to the low signal-to-noise ratio and poor stability. In eye motions, the corneal-retinal potential caused by hyperpolarization and depolarization is very weak. However, the mechanical micromotion of the skin around the corners of eyes has never been considered as a good trigger signal source. We report a novel triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG)–based micromotion sensor enabled by the coupling of triboelectricity and electrostatic induction. By using an indium tin oxide electrode and two opposite tribomaterials, the proposed flexible and transparent sensor is capable of effectively capturing eye blink motion with a super-high signal level (~750 mV) compared with the traditional electrooculogram approach (~1 mV). The sensor is fixed on a pair of glasses and applied in two real-time mechnosensational HMIs—the smart home control system and the wireless hands-free typing system with advantages of super-high sensitivity, stability, easy operation, and low cost. This TENG-based micromotion sensor is distinct and unique in its fundamental mechanism, which provides a novel design concept for intelligent sensor technique and shows great potential application in mechnosensational HMIs.

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