Nano Flex Sensor

The Nano Flex Sensor, powered by Bendlabs technology, includes a multilayered elastomeric capacitor infused with nano particulates. Because of its non-drift stability, tight repeatability and high fidelity measurement of angular displacement, it effectively detects industrial and human motion for applications requiring tight, repeatable feedback for bend, swivel, drop/raise, extend, and contract.

Product Description

Key Features

  • Linear and bidirectional response measures angular displacement with absolute accuracy of 1 degree
  • Zero drift technology means high reliability with repeatability of 1 degree
  • Made of highly flexible soft silicone elastomer for unrestricted bending
  • Differential capacitance measurement has high CMRR to both electrical and mechanical noise
  • Ultra low power consumption of less than 200 uA at 1.3 V and sample rates as high as 1 kHz
  • Convenient I2C and SPIE interface with onboard calibration and filtering functions
  • Water/weather resistant and highly durable

Enables New Sensing Applications

  • Nano Flex Sensors seamlessly integrates with stretch fabrics (e.g. wearables) and standard fabrics (e.g. IoT furniture) opening the door to new forms of human interfaces
  • Nano Flex Sensors integrate with flexible substrates (e.g. plastic bags, soft foams, rubbers,cables, etc.), enabling new and exciting sensing applications

 

Replaces Existing Sensors

  • Plastic flex sensors in applications that require high accuracy and repeatability
  • Magnetic angle sensors where problematic magnetic fields are present
  • Encoders where ultra low power is needed
  • Fiber optic flex sensors when small footprint and power consumption is needed
  • Resistive rotary sensors in applications where a hinge joint is not ideal

 

This thin elastomeric flexible sensor can be used in numerous applications such as:

  • Output measuring bridge stress with a stability of 1 degree accuracy with no drift
  • Measure seat and bed position/occupancy
  • Track minute motion in robotics

 

The Spectra Symbol Nano Flex Sensor, powered by Bendlabs technology, is a patented capacitive sensor that creates a soft-stretchable nervous system of motion.


Nano Flex Sensor 2 Axis Flex

The Resistive Flex Sensor, Spectra Symbol’s traditional flex sensing technology, is still the top selling flex sensor in the world. It solves a problem for many engineers through measuring displacement of a moving part at a low price. However, with the recent development of the Nano Capacitive Flex Sensor, there is a high fidelity output option to the market.

 

Compared to traditional resistive-based flex sensors, the Nano Flex Sensor does not struggle with the drifting that micro-cracks in resistance face. The capacitive sensor’s repeatability is an order of magnitude better than the resistive based sensor. Traditional resistive flex sensors may experience drift over 10% if left in the same location, and if bent in an aggressive manner, can degrade its linearity and repeatability by over 30% of the total output. Part of the traditional flex sensor problem is also in raw materials—of rigid polyimides carrying the carbon inks. This can cause kinks, connectivity errors, and unintentional forming of the materials, all causing output problems. These issues have regulated the traditional resistive flex sensor product to garage entrepreneurs, or applications requiring only gross measurement, showing general angle and deflection. In contrast, the Nano Flex Sensor’s elastomeric properties not only allow for aggressive bending, but deliver consistent results even if the product is stretched 50% of its total length. Essentially, the move from traditional Flex Sensor resistance to Nano Flex Sensor’s capacitance allows for more stable, more accurate sensing. This opens the door for highly precise readings from glove/hand motion, and overall body motion. The Nano Capacitive Flex Sensor also allows for high-volume industrial applications where accuracy, stability and flexibility combine to demand a better product than was available when the resistive flex was the only option.

When companies ran into limitations of resistive flex sensors, they turned to accelerometers and gyros—or in short, IMU’s (Intertial Measurment Units). While IMU’s are deployed in millions of applications and serve as a universal solution for applications as varied as drone positioning to running shoe motion, they lack two critical things that the Nano Flex solves: 

  1. Repeatability. IMU’s can achieve as loose a repeatability as ±10%
  2. Physical connection to the moving parts.

 
The Nano Flex Sensor provides 0.2 degree repeatability while moving with the objects themselves, giving an accurate reading according to the physical output of the measured positions, with no reference to gravity. When compared to IMU’s the Nano Flex Sensor offers a unique and accurate solution to position measurement.

 Nano Flex Sensor Datasheet (PDF)

 Nano Flex Theory Manual (PDF)