I’ve worked on the light touch matters project for the last two years. The outcome is this thin film like material has not reached market yet but is in development. The material can sense touch and bending with great accuracy (though struggles with multi-touch) but can also emit light. The light emitting properties are similar to EL panels but much brighter and less energy consuming. The touch sensor is an innovative piezo plastic that can sense changes to it’s shape rather than just touches which open up a whole range of potential interactions
The use of LTM in a yoga mat, it’s able to sense pressure an placement of hands while also being able to be completely rolled up more here
- Senses touch
- Senses bending
- OLED capable of emitting 1200 lux.
- Highly durable, still functions after extreme amounts of repeated bending.
- Can be purchased in a range of colors
- Roll to roll printing so suitable for large projects
- Can be printed in specific shapes
An example of the material in use these soft Globuddies from Fuelfor are companions for children in hospital. The tighter they squeeze the brighter the buddy gets. This can those around the child if they are in pain or stressed.
Manufacture & Fabrication
The production is created by a complex process. There are two working layers joined by an integration layer and an outer protective layer. The OLED layer that emits light is separate to the piezo layer that senses touch meaning that some areas can be touch sensitive with no light and other areas might be light emitting with no touch. This adds more options to the material as well as reducing costs. The outer layer can be unique to the application but the whole materials needs to be connected to external battery and micro controller to work out how it should react to interactions.
Durability & Sustainability
The OLED’s will work for ten thousand hours of constant use. While they can take repeated bending constantly bends which crease the material will damage the OLED permanently. The touch sensors will long outlive their OLED counterparts functioning for much longer. The piezos we use also generated an interesting breakthrough finding a lead free alternative to normal piezo’s which better for the environment all round.