What if our mobile phones were covered with artificial skin? That’s the strange question that the scientists who made the Skin-On interface faced. An invention that fascinates as much as it gives goose bumps.
The invention was born from the imagination of British and French scientists. They have developed an artificial membrane that resembles human skin not only in its appearance, but also in its sensory capabilities. The membrane, which covers devices such as a smartphone, can “feel” gestures and interactions such as tickling, caressing and pinching.
The result is obtained by superimposing a hypodermic layer on a layer of electrodes connected to conductive wires, all covered with a textured surface.
The research team says his work focuses on the intersection between man and machine, according to the website Engadget.
“Artificial skin has been widely studied in the field of robotics, but with a focus on safety, detection or with a purely cosmetic purpose. To my knowledge, this is the first research that realistically explores artificial skin as a way to increase our relationship with smart devices,” said Marc Teyssier, lead author of the study.
Smartphone owners will be able to use touch to express their emotions through digital communication. Tickling the skin covering the device could for example make appear an emoticon who laughs. A more powerful grip could transmit anger.
Other applications are possible with devices such as smart watches or touchpads for computers.
If the invention is surprising, perhaps it could one day become the norm, according to Engadget. The research team invites developers interested in its technology to contact them. In the meantime, she focuses on the possibility of adding bristles to the membrane, as well as a sensor that detects the temperature.
Kathy Ottowell is a seasoned journalist with nearly 15 years experience. While studying business at London Business School, Kathy conducted numerous research studies how social media advertising has changed the landscape of traditional PR. As a contributor to Tech Driod, Kathy covers health and science stories.