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Engineering Materials

Flexible Image Sensors Printed on Plastic

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mrdon
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ISORGs Flexible Sensor Videos
mrdon   6/20/2013 2:05:32 PM
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Ann, Good article and very interesting subject on the ISORG's flexible Image sensors. In watching the videos, which the demos were quite impressive, I noticed both the pdf browser and 3D image manipulation were operated with no human contact. I see a plethora of applications being developed within the HMI space because of the hand gesture control opposed to touch. Just wondering if this sensor technology uses capacitive-proximity detection for engaging with the target product? This new HMI tech could be part of CAD 2.0 article Cabe wrote recently. Very nice article indeed!!

Charles Murray
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Re: ISORGs Flexible Sensor Videos
Charles Murray   6/20/2013 8:41:53 PM
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Cool story, Ann. What kind of applications would be specifically well-suited for the flexibility of this image sensor?

mrdon
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Re: ISORGs Flexible Sensor Videos
mrdon   6/20/2013 10:21:42 PM
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Charles, I'm curious as well as to what the intended applications ISORG has planned for their flexible image sensor. I do believe that have a great technology for the HMI and Gesture controls space.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: ISORGs Flexible Sensor Videos
Ann R. Thryft   6/21/2013 1:15:04 PM
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Chuck, apps include anything with a camera. When image sensors started being made in CMOS instead of CCDs, that made it possible to include them in laptops (=webcams) and cell phones. When this prototype's process becomes higher-res and high-volume, they can be printed on flexible substrates, which means anything that's small: phones, wristbands, all kinds of places that we haven't thought of yet. Who ever thought years back that we'd have cameras in portable phones?

mrdon
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Re: ISORGs Flexible Sensor Videos
mrdon   6/21/2013 8:01:23 PM
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Ann

What's really cool about this technology is there are no boundaries to applications development. In the videos that were presented, several gesture gaming control applications popped in my head. The impressive part about this imaging sensor is the ability to be package into any object because of its flexible - printed circuit attibutes.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: ISORGs Flexible Sensor Videos
Ann R. Thryft   6/24/2013 11:58:34 AM
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mrdon, I agree: this technology not only can be applied to existing applications, but it's the kind of enabling technology that can inspire and make possible new applications.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: ISORGs Flexible Sensor Videos
Ann R. Thryft   6/21/2013 1:14:13 PM
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Thanks, mrdon. That's a good point about the HMI--and in fact, the demonstrator demonstrates the power of using an image sensor for gesture-based HMI. That's how Kinect works: with an image sensor.

Greg M. Jung
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Flexibility
Greg M. Jung   6/21/2013 11:21:52 PM
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I especially appreciate the flexible nature of this technology.  'Wearable' smart devices (i.e. wristband) could become more of a reality with the ability to curve or bend the display surface.  I would imagine the flexibility of this display surface would open up many new markets for innovative display applications.

Charles Murray
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Re: Flexibility
Charles Murray   6/23/2013 5:48:59 PM
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Greg, are we talking about something like Dick Tracy's two-way wrist TV here? 

Greg M. Jung
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Re: Flexibility
Greg M. Jung   6/23/2013 8:59:43 PM
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Yes (you read my mind). I have to admit this thought did pop into my head while I was reading this article. (Maybe this wristwatch isn't so far away after all).

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Flexibility
Ann R. Thryft   6/24/2013 12:02:07 PM
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Even if they're not actually Dick Tracy-style, flexible wraparound watches and wristbands are definitely a possible application for this technology, as they are for other printed flex sensor technology. For example, those health-monitoring wristbands that take your temperature, heart rate and other data during exercise. Now they could record image data as well.

William K.
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The other advantage of flexible sensors and displays.
William K.   6/24/2013 7:42:45 PM
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What has not been mentioned is the improvments in ruggedness and durability that  would come from the circuitry not breaking when flexed a bit. That should open up a realm of applications where previously a display or sensor would have broken during normal use. A flexible image sensor could watch stamping die activity from a much closer viewpoint, for instance.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: The other advantage of flexible sensors and displays.
Ann R. Thryft   6/25/2013 12:08:29 PM
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Interesting comment, William, since making flex circuits that don't break was one of the big challenges in the earlier days of this technology's R&D. I see your point about applications--flex image sensors could be used in many places where traditional rigid image sensors couldn't go before.

edsut
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what about the lens?
edsut   6/26/2013 4:06:01 PM
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Interesting, and note, I'm no optics expert, but doesn't every image sensor need a lens to properly focus in on some field of view?  If the sensor is flexible, then doesnt' that make it tougher for the lens to do its job?

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: what about the lens?
Ann R. Thryft   6/26/2013 4:54:40 PM
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Excellent question, edsut. The answer to your first question, "doesn't every image sensor need a lens to properly focus in on some field of view?" is yes, but... A very accurate lens is only needed for taking pictures. We have been trained to think of image sensors as being used in cameras for increasingly sharp, accurate and realistic pictures, especially in machine vision. But in motion sensing, an image sensor such as the Kinect's doesn't have to "see" your gesture very well--it just has to sense the position and direction of your arm or other body movements, aided by a depth sensor for 3D and a tracking chip. Then the motion capture software takes over to decide what your gestures mean. The Kinect lens is small, round and unsophisticated. There's a good Wikipedia article on the subject.
Regarding flexible lenses, the human eye has a flexible, curved lens, and some curved Fresnel lenses (used in lighthouses) are flexible. So are intra-ocular lenses implanted in the eye for correcting myopia.

edsut
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Re: what about the lens?
edsut   6/27/2013 7:32:52 AM
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Ok, got it.  I was confused thinking that this image sensor could be used for normal video.  Thanks!

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