Seat Occupancy Sensors & Gaming - Exploring Printed & Flexible Sensors

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Seat Occupancy Sensors and Gaming - IDTechEx Explores Printed and Flexible Sensors
Sensors act as a middle ground between the physical and digital. They measure all sorts of variables from touch, temperature, and heart rate across many different sectors, which IDTechEx's report "Printed and Flexible Sensors 2024-2034: Technologies, Players, Markets" explores in detail. As technology continues to become streamlined and autonomous, there is a great demand for multi-functionality and seamlessness, meaning a high demand for sensors that can be printed and applied to flexible surfaces. IDTechEx explores the main sectors where this technology is in most demand.
Automotive safety
Battery health monitoring in electric vehicles using multi-functional hybrid sensors is an emerging role for printed and flexible sensors. Temperature and pressure sensors can be integrated together with minimal interference to prevent overheating or battery failure, helping contribute greatly to the vehicle's safety.
Electric vehicle batteries are being developed to have greater energy density and go longer between charges, requiring advanced monitoring as a result. Printed and flexible sensors work by converting physical measurements into electrical signals, meaning they respond to any swelling or rise in temperature into an alert within the car, helping solve any issues fast. As vehicles are moving towards autonomy and becoming electric, it makes sense to incorporate this seamless integration of sensors.
Seat occupancy detection in vehicles uses piezoresistive sensors, which detect force as pressure is applied. These sensors allow cars to keep passengers safe by reminding them to wear seatbelts. IDTechEx states that force sensors are the largest printed sensor market and are likely to remain so. For more information, see the IDTechEx report, "Electric Vehicles: Land, Sea, and Air 2024-2044".
Dashboard sensors
Greater touch-sensitive inputs using capacitive or force sensors is a future possibility for the automotive sector, as printed sensors can be integrated conformably into curved surfaces of vehicles such as the dashboard or car door. Printed touch sensors enable user interface across large areas for infotainment and control systems in the vehicle, such as opening windows or changing songs. The possibility of these sensors being transparent would allow for cooperative integration and a seamless aesthetic, and they can even be printed onto glass. Innovations in flexible, non-printed capacitive touch sensing technology do pose a threat to this application, but printed sensors remain the most compelling solution for large-area use cases.
Consumer electronics
IDTechEx predicts that fingerprint authentication will maintain its prominence as an addressable application for the printed flexible sensor market. With touchscreens expanding to the very edges of the device, there is a growing demand for fingerprint security solutions that provide biometric authentication across the entire display. Printed sensors can be used in smartphones and tablets, where photodetectors embedded within the display panel enable passive biometric authentication during operation.
Gaming controllers and inputs could be revolutionized with printed flexible 3D force sensors. Where multiple keys or buttons have always been used for various functions, pressure measurement can offer an additional dimension of user experience and interaction. More functionalities can be added to a lower number of controls, using pressure to activate additional functions over a smaller area. Laptops could also benefit from this added functionality, integrating pressure sensitivity within keyboards and trackpads, meaning more value for customers and enhancing user experience.
Image sensors that can flexibly conform to surfaces can be used for weld inspections for oil pipelines and submersibles to minimize hazards and increase efficiency. Routine testing of pipes to ensure proper function is something that is not easily carried out, and currently, fixed-size image sensors are moved around the joint to image it in 3D. With printed flexible sensors, the entire joint can be imaged conformally without the need to move them around and can cover large areas while producing high-resolution images. IDTechEx's report "Emerging Image Sensor Technologies 2024-2034: Applications and Markets" explores this further.
Dr Jack Howley, Technology Analyst at IDTechEx and author of the "Printed and Flexible Sensors 2024-2034: Technologies, Players, Markets" report, states that "changes in perspectives within the industry are causing technology providers to question how printed and flexible sensors can truly add value. Although they are fantastic for uses in the automotive sector, it could be beneficial to assess where printed sensors could fill gaps in various sectors, rather than assuming there will always be a demand for them, to secure the industry's future. The market stands at almost half a billion dollars, and IDTechEx predicts it could reach just shy of US$1 billion in ten years' time, so despite it not being a large market, there is room for innovation and growth".
To find out more about the IDTechEx report "Printed and Flexible Sensors 2024-2034: Technologies, Players, Markets", including downloadable sample pages, please visit
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