LG's materials and components subsidiary, LG Innotek, has developed a new type of flexible, textile pressure sensor. The company has yet to commercialize the technology, but says it could be used in a number of industries, including healthcare and car manufacturing. The company points out that current pressure sensors are all inflexible and stiff, whereas LG's new design is made from a flexible, elastic material that means they can be seamlessly integrated into other products. It also detects pressure across the whole of its exterior — not just in specific points.
The company mentions a number of possible use cases for the pressure sensors, including:
- Healthcare. For example, pressure-sensitive shoes or even a whole carpet that detect a patient's movement and balance.
- Sports gear. A pressure-sensitive golf club could check the owner's grip, for example, sending them tips to a connected app on their smartphone.
- Automobiles. Building sensors into a car seat could detect a driver's posture, body type, and weigh, automatically correcting the height of a car seat or pressure of an airbag.
LG says its new sensors are not only flexible but durable as well, able to work at temperatures from 40°C degrees below zero to 80°C above for more than 240 hours at a time. More importantly, the sensors can withstand being sat upon (by a 70 kilogram person) 100,000 times. LG doesn't give an approximate timetable for when the flexible sensors might be available for commercial use, but don't expect to see them in any products for at least a couple of years.