The Indian Wire » Technology » You can now Tickle or Pinch Your Smartphone with the help of Artificial Human Touch
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You can now Tickle or Pinch Your Smartphone with the help of Artificial Human Touch

Now, your phone and other wearable gadgets can feel sensations such as tickling, caressing, twisting and even pinching, as researchers have developed a new “Skin-On” interface.

This “Skin-On” interface technology will be a mimic of human skin in terms of appearance but it will also bring a resolution in sensing with it.

During the study, the researchers have created a phone case, computer touchpad, and smartwatch to demonstrate how touch gestures on the Skin-On interface can convey expressive messages for computer-mediated communication with humans or virtual characters. The researchers demonstrated that tickling the skin can generate a laughing emoji on a phone while tapping it can create a surprising emoji.

“One of the main use of smartphones is mediated communication, using text, voice, video, or a combination,” said the lead author of the study Marc Teyssier from Telecomm ParisTech in France.

“Users can express rich tactile emotions on artificial skin via a messaging app. 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” Teyssier said.

We can expect the showcase of the research to be presented at the 32nd ACM User Interface Software and Technology Symposium to be held in New Orleans in the US from October 20-23 takes touch technology to the next level.

The researchers adopted a bio-driven approach to developing the multi-layer, silicone membrane. 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, but 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.

“This is the first time we have the opportunity to add skin to our interactive devices. The idea is perhaps a bit surprising, but skin is an interface we are highly familiar with so why not use it and its richness with the devices we use every day?” said the University of Bristol Professor Anne Roudaut who supervised the research.

“This is the first research we are aware of that looks at exploiting realistic artificial skin as a new input method for augmenting devices,” Teyssier said.

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