Wearable sensor measures real skin feel

Wednesday, 24 April, 2024

Wearable sensor measures real skin feel

Researchers from Procter & Gamble (P&G, the Singapore Innovation Centre (SgIC) and Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed a wearable skin sensor, known as “HapSense”, that allows scientists to speed up their analysis of skincare cosmetic products. Typical skin-test panels consist of skincare product reviewers who represent a defined user demographic based on the nature of the study. Unlike conventional methods that rely on subjective assessments like consumer surveys, HapSense offers precise, objective and quantifiable measurements of tactile sensations, enabling an accurate understanding of the human sense of touch.

Shaped like a signet ring and worn on the fingertip, the sensor component of HapSense is attached to a smartwatch-like module, creating a portable, lightweight device that could be used for skin analysis in consumers’ homes. As the sensor glides along the skin or any surface, HapSense captures real-time data on friction and pressure that is independent of the consumers’ perceptions. This multidimensional sensing and tracking with high sensitivity provides insights into the effects of a skincare product on the skin.

By harnessing advanced algorithms, scientists can perform big data analysis using consistent data across the effects of different products over the years, gleaning insights that can guide the formulation of skincare products or the personalisation of skincare regimes for different skin types and demographics. HapSense also has the potential to expand its applications to testing surfaces and products in a range of categories, such as fabric care, hair care, baby care or feminine care.

Professor Louis Phee, Vice President (Innovation and Entrepreneurship) at NTU Singapore, said the sensor is an innovative product that showcases the potential of soft electronics in real-life applications, making it useful for many industries. “Our next steps will be advancing the commercialisation of the technology and establishing manufacturing standards for soft electronics, an emerging field where Singapore has strong potential to lead globally,” Phee said.

Image credit: Nanyang Technological University Singapore.

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