When someone draws a rectangle on a piece of paper, most people see a doodle or geometry homework, but researchers in China see a potential sensor for robotics and wearable technologies.
With just pencil lines on a sheet of paper, a team at The University of Science and Technology Beijing created a sensor that could measure how much an object is bent, Gizmodo reported March 19. For example, the paper containing these pencil lines was glued to a book to measure how far it was opened and then to a ruler to determine how far it was bent. This is thanks to the graphite from the pencil, which bears high resistance that can increase or decrease depending on how it is distorted—which scientists are then able to measure. This technology is cheap and has applications for robots and other machines, as well as alarms for objects when they’re opened, such as books and doors, New Scientist reported March 18.