June 5, 2008—Palo Alto Research Center Incorporated (PARC), a Xerox company that develops MEMS and nano-based technologies, has been selected by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop and prototype, all-printed, disposable, blast dosimeters. This technology is a flexible, wearable, electronic “tape” that contains sensors to record data associated with exposure to explosive blasts in the battlefield. The $2 million, 18-month DARPA program will leverage PARC’s jet-printing expertise to develop low-cost technologies and processes for fabricating the tape’s sensors, memory, and control electronics.
“The sensor-tape program is an important next step for PARC to take in the direction of printing high-value, low-cost electronics,” PARC’s President and Center Director Mark Bernstein said. “It builds upon the foundation of our scientific breakthroughs in large-area electronics and extends our core competencies in all-additive deposition of polymer devices and circuits. We believe there are significant future application opportunities for this technology in manufactured packaging, for electro-mechanical sensing, and in a broad range of biomedical scenarios.”
The sensor tape is designed to monitor the intensity and frequency of battlefield explosions experienced by soldiers and emergency responders. PARC will develop and implement multiple sensors to collect and record data associated with blasts, including shock waves, acceleration, acoustic levels, and light intensities. Comprising small, lightweight patches, the disposable tape will be attached to a soldier’s helmet or uniform for a period of one week, then removed to read the data, and then discarded.