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P&G Singapore, A*STAR and NTU Create Wearable Sensor That Measures Skin Feel

Shaped like a signet ring, the device offers multidimensional sensing and tracking with high sensitivity.

A decade-long collaboration between Procter & Gamble Singapore Innovation Centre,  Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has led to the development of a patent-pending device that will allow scientists to speed up analysis of skincare products.

The device is known as HapSense. It can reportedly speed analysis of skin care cosmetic products by up to 10 times and cost just a fraction of the existing expensive skin-testing panels, according to the team behind it.

Unlike conventional methods that rely on subjective assessments, such as consumer surveys, HapSense offers precise, objective and quantifiable measurements of tactile sensations, enabling a more accurate understanding of the human sense of touch, according to the team.

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—even 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 consumer perceptions. This multidimensional sensing and tracking with high sensitivity provides objective and deep insights into the effects of a skincare product on the skin, according to the team.

According to the developers, HapSense has the potential to expand its applications to testing surfaces and products in categories beyond skincare, e.g. fabric care, hair care, baby care or feminine care.

The P&G  &  A*STAR Partnership

The partnership between P&G and A*STAR began in 2013. It has been been governed under a Master Research Collaboration Agreement (MRCA) between P&G, A*STAR, and various institutes of higher learning and healthcare groups in Singapore. Under the MRCA, the joint efforts have yielded more than 30 impactful publications in areas spanning computer vision, neuroscience, and skin biology, as well as ten patents and two new licensed technologies.

P&G, A*STAR, and their partners renewed a five-year MRCA in 2023, amounting to S$20 million of joint funding for collaborative research projects.

HapSense was on display at an event to mark the 10th Anniversary of Procter & Gamble Singapore Innovation Centre (SgIC).

P&G SgIC was founded in 2014. It is one of Singapore’s largest private research facilities, with close to 500 R&D staff from 27 nations who represent a breath-taking range of expertise, from consumer understanding to chemistry, robotics to virtual reality, and microbiology to big data. 

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