Scientists have created an “artificial skin” that can wrap around objects, like a smartphone, which you can then pinch and tickle.
Marc Teyssier, a Ph.D. student at Télécom ParisTech, created this incredibly realistic skin with a research team as part of their Skin-On project.
“In this project, I wanted to make available the perfect human interface that is the skin for existing devices,” said Teyssier on their website.
“Human skin is the best interface for interaction. I propose this new paradigm in which interactive devices have their own artificial skin, thus enabling new forms of input gestures for end-users.”
The team wanted to add this new level of interaction to “cold” devices like a smartphone. According to the New Scientist, the skin is programmed to associate different gestures with different emotions. An abrupt hard pressure on the skin could mean anger, tapping could mean the user is seeking attention, and continuous contact and stroking is associated with providing comfort.
The “skin” is made by building an epidermis layer from DragonSkin silicone, placing conductive threads on top of this layer, adding the hypodermis viscous silicone layer of Ecoflex Gel, connecting the electrodes and finally shaping to create a realistic “flesh.”
“We have seen many works trying to augment human with parts of machines; here we look at the other way around and try to make the devices we use every day more like us, or human-like,” Anne Roudaut, associate professor at the University of Bristol and research team member told Tech Central.