Mammalian whiskers present an important class of tactile sensors that complement the functionalities of skin for detecting wind with high sensitivity and navigation around local obstacles. Here, we developed electronic whiskers based on highly tunable composite films of carbon nanotubes and silver nanoparticles that are patterned on high-aspect ratio elastic fibers. The nanotubes form a conductive network matrix with excellent bendability, while nanoparticle loading enhances the conductivity and endows the composite with high strain sensitivity. The resistivity of the composites is highly sensitive to strain with a pressure sensitivity of up to ~8 %/Pa for the whiskers, which is >10× higher than all previously reported capacitive or resistive pressure sensors.
Project end date: 08/14/14