The Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme


Yi Xuan Sim: Laidlaw scholars share expertise

Laidlaw Scholar Yi Xuan Sim spent his six week summer research period working in the Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering on soft elongation sensors. 

Yi Xuan Sim shows the sensors he developed as part of his Laidlaw research project at UCL

8 February 2019

Soft elongation sensors are flexible sensors which can be integrated into clothing or implant devices, and have many applications in medicine and health as well as other commercial uses such as in video game clothing. 

Yi Xuan was trying to create a narrower elongation sensor, easier to flex and bend than current sensors, but thick enough to contain the carbon fibre pieces used as the sensing element. In addition, he tested the performance characteristics of the sensors at different rates of stretch.

After discussion with his project supervisors, Dr Pilar Garcia Souto and Dafne Zuleima Morgado Ramirez and undertaking initial research, Yi Xuan set about producing the sensors. 

He designed these himself, and developed a manufacturing process for producing moulds by cutting acrylic pieces with a laser and gluing them together. Silicone and carbon were then moulded to create the sensors, and they were tested using a mechanical testing machine with the data analysed using Matlab software.

Yi Xuan worked through a number of setbacks with the help of his project supervisors. However, it was through collaborating with Laidlaw scholar Jakub Zalesak that he was finally able to successfully produce the sensors. 

Jakub’s skill in electronics, combined with Yi Xuan’s skill in engineering, allowed him to solve the remaining problems with his design and obtain good results. He succeeded in producing sensors just two millimetres thick.

Yi Xuan learned many useful skills in addition to increasing his knowledge of soft sensors. 

He learned how to plan his time to allow for unexpected setbacks and developed his problem solving skills. 

Most importantly Yi Xuan learned to identify when he could not solve a problem on his own, and was able to call upon other expertise to give him another perspective on a problem. 

His tenacity paid off, and he has the satisfaction of knowing that he has contributed to the developing understanding of soft sensor technology.

Supervisor Dafne Morgado Ramirez commented:

“Work was performed at the greatest quality and this gave me incomparable joy. I am very proud of my student and I am very thankful with the Laidlaw programme.”