In the search for even better humidity sensors that combine high precision with the lack of susceptibility to environmental variables, scientists from China (via the American Chemical Society) were inspired by the noses of camels. This is also how unique, precise humidity sensors were created.
Camels inspired scientists, and this is how high-precision humidity sensors were created
In the camels’ noses there are narrow, large-surface channels lined with water-absorbing mucus, which changes its capacity depending on changes in air humidity. This is what makes these animals very effective at ‘sniffing out’ water in dry environments, which is why scientists used their noses as a model for a new type of high-sensitivity humidity sensor.
The device they created is able to detect even low levels of water molecules in the air and opens up interesting possibilities, including finding water sources in extreme environments or contactless interaction with computers. It consists of a porous polymer network covered with special molecules that attract moisture and mimic the ability of camel’s mucus to change volume depending on humidity.
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In tests, the sensor turned out to be both durable and very sensitive. It successfully detected changes in humidity in hot industrial exhaust fumes and quickly distinguished between fresh, stale and dry leaves. He was also able to find the location of the water source and could detect moisture from the human body, or even detect a human finger and track its V-shaped or L-shaped movements. Scientists say the device can thus serve as a non-contact interface for interacting with computers.