Wearables are capable of all sorts of things nowadays, from measuring our steps to our sleep behaviors. Now, scientists have created a more flexible wearable made from chewing gum.
In a new report published in the American Chemical Society’s journal, Applied Materials & Interfaces, scientists at the University of Manitoba showed how they were able to make a highly stretchable and sensitive sensor out of chewing gum.
Why might such a thing be needed? Sensors in wearables are typically made of metal and can stop working if they are twisted too much, the American Chemical Society says in a statement about the research. To prevent this, some researchers have created sensors from plastics, but have found they are less sensitive at making measurements.
So, in the new study, a researcher chewed a piece of gum for 30 minutes. The researchers then took that gum and washed it with ethanol and let it sit. They then added a solution of carbon nanotubes that ultimately allowed the gum to have sensing abilities. When they tested it, they found that the material could detect body motion and humidity changes, which could be used to track breathing.
The research is still in early stages, but the researchers have shown it could work. See the video below for what the chewing gum wearable looks like.