Scientists develop fireproof, self-powered sensor that may save lives

Scientists develop fireproof, self powered sensor that may save lives
Credit: McMaster University.

In a new study, researchers have developed a motion-powered, fireproof sensor.

This low-cost sensor could track the movements of firefighters, steelworkers, miners and other people who work in high-risk environments and not easy to be seen.

The research was conducted by researchers from UCLA and the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague.

The sensor is only the size of a button-cell watch battery. It can easily be incorporated into the sole of a boot or under the arm of a jacket.

The sensor could use power from body motion, which creates a pattern of constant contact and generate power.

It could be used in a burning building, a mineshaft or other hazardous environment and warn the person not to go in if there is a danger.

In the current study, the team created the sensor using a new carbon aerogel nanocomposite. It is fireproof and does not need charging from a power source.

It is useful in finding people who are trapped in a dangerous environment.

Previously, the team had developed self-powered sensors allowing similar tracking, but their materials break down at high temperatures.

This new sensor can harvest energy from the environment and does not need a battery. This means it can work in an extremely hot environment.

The team has tested the new technology at temperatures up to 300C, and the sensor does not lose any functions.

The team hopes their new sensor could save someone’s life in the future.

The lead author of the study is Ravi Selvaganapathy, a professor of mechanical engineering who oversaw the project.

The researchers now are looking forward to working with a commercial partner to get the technology to market.

The study is published in Nano Energy.

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Further reading: Nano Energy.