Scientists develop mechanosensor inspired by Venus flytrap

Morphological characteristics of the Venus flytrap trigger hair and the principle of the artificial trigger hair-based mechanosensor. Credit: Cyborg and Bionic Systems (2023).

Researchers at Soochow University have developed a groundbreaking new sensor inspired by the Venus flytrap, a plant known for its quick response to touch.

This innovative device, called the biomimetic trigger hair mechanoreceptor (BTHM), is highly sensitive and responsive, making it a potential game-changer in robotics and environmental monitoring.

The study, led by Professor Kejun Wang and published in the journal Cyborg and Bionic Systems, highlights the team’s success in translating the biological sensitivity of the Venus flytrap into a mechanical form.

The team includes Qian Wang, Zezhong Lu, Deshan Wang, and other colleagues who worked together to bring this idea to life.

The Venus flytrap captures insects by sensing tiny forces through its trigger hairs.

By studying and mimicking this natural mechanism, the researchers developed the BTHM, which can detect slight forces, displacements, and vibrations. This sensor works quickly and accurately, similar to the natural trigger hairs of the flytrap.

The BTHM’s design features a rigid rod and a flexible base with a piezoresistor (a device that changes resistance when mechanical stress is applied) placed on a notch structure. This setup allows the sensor to detect even the smallest changes in its environment with high precision.

The BTHM has been tested in various scenarios and has shown impressive results. It can be used for environmental sensing, detecting small mechanical loads, and monitoring vibrations.

Its high sensitivity makes it perfect for applications that require the detection of low-intensity signals, such as advanced robotic systems and environmental monitoring devices.

The researchers conducted a detailed study of the Venus flytrap’s trigger hairs to design the BTHM. They tested the sensor in controlled laboratory conditions and found that it outperformed current technology in terms of sensitivity, stability, and response time.

This innovative project demonstrates the potential of biomimetic research, which involves mimicking natural systems to develop new technologies.

The BTHM sets a new standard for sensor technology and opens up possibilities for improving robotic systems and creating more interactive and responsive machines.

As the demand for advanced sensor technology grows, the work of Professor Wang and his team offers valuable insights and tools that could revolutionize various industries.

Their sensor could be used in robotics, healthcare, and environmental monitoring, providing more accurate and efficient solutions.

In summary, the BTHM is a remarkable advancement in sensor technology inspired by the natural world.

This new device could lead to significant improvements in how we monitor and interact with our environment, enhancing the capabilities of robotic systems and other applications.