Artificial skin creates first ticklish devices


A new interface developed by researchers in
Bristol and Paris takes touch technology to the next level, by providing an artificial
skin-like membrane for augmenting interactive devices such as phones, wearables or computers. The Skin-On interface mimics human skin in
appearance but also in sensing resolution. The researchers adopted a bio-driven approach
to developing a multi-layer, silicone membrane that mimics the layers present in human skin. This is made up of a surface textured layer,
an electrode layer of conductive threads and a hypodermis layer. Not only is the interface more natural than
a rigid casing, it can also detect a plethora of gestures made by the end-users. As a result, the artificial skin allows devices
to ‘feel’ the user’s grasp – its pressure and location, and can detect interactions
such as tickling, caressing, even twisting and pinching. In the study, researchers created a phone
case, computer touch pad and smart watch to demonstrate how touch gestures on the Skin-On
interface can convey expressive messages for computer mediated communication with humans
or virtual characters. One of the main use of smartphones is mediated
communication, using text, voice, video, or a combination. The researchers implemented a messaging application
where users can express rich tactile emotions on the artificial skin. The intensity of the touch controls the size
of the emojis. A strong grip conveys anger while tickling
the skin displays a laughing emoji and tapping creates a surprised emoji.

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One thought on “Artificial skin creates first ticklish devices

  1. For a 1.0 product, this is pretty exciting. Future skin grafts could be even more useful to people who receive them!

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