‘Artificial skin’ for smartphones will make it ‘ticklish, pinchable’

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Scientists have invented an artificial skin for interactive devices like smartphones, computer touchpad and smartwatch to make it ‘ticklish and pinchable’ that will respond when touched which the team called it ‘Skin-On’ interface.

The study’s lead author, Marc Teyssier, a PhD student at Telecomm ParisTech in France said that a variety of gestures including sliding, stretching and rotation will be detectable through this creepy human-like skin.

The team developed two prototypes: one with a creepily realistic textured layer that resembles human skin and another with a more uniform surface.

“I wanted to pinch my phone,” says Teyssier as the reason for designing the skin which also responds to different gestures that mimic human emotional communication, NewScientist reported.

Artificial skin for smartphones
Photo: Independent.co.uk

The artificial skin, Skin-On interface, is programmed to associate different gestures with certain emotions. Sudden hard pressure on the skin is associated with anger and tapping is a means of seeking attention, while sustained contact and stroking are associated with providing comfort.

The artificial skin is made of three layers, consisting of a layer of stretchable copper wire sandwiched between two layers of silicone. Pressure on the skin changes the electric charge of the system.

Photo: Independent.co.uk

The author said that developing the sensor was a challenge.

“The constraint was to develop something that was stretchable and that can also detect touch,” he said.

For the demonstration of its features, the team created a phone case, computer touch pad and smart and the work is being presented this week at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology in New Orleans, US.

In its next phase, the skin will be modified to make it more realistic, including with embedded hair and temperature features. Previously, Teyssier designed a robotic finger which enables smartphones to crawl across a table.


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