Latest in Tomorrow

Image credit: PA

Researchers create an artificial skin that makes your phone ticklish

Oh... no.
456 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

PA

We're so reliant on our smartphones that it's probably fair to say they've become an extension of ourselves, so the fact that scientists have now developed an artificial "skin" for our devices -- that has the ability to make them ticklish -- is not a huge surprise. Horrifying, maybe, but it was only a matter of time.

Researchers in Bristol, UK and Paris, France have developed an artificial, skin-like membrane that mimics human skin not only in appearance, but in its sensing capabilities. Via a hypodermis layer, an electrode layer of conductive threads and a textured surface layer, the membrane is able to "feel" a variety of gestures and interactions, such as tickling, stroking and pinching.

The work explores the intersection between man and machine, the researchers say. "Artificial skin has been widely studied in the field of robotics but with a focus on safety, sensing or cosmetic aims. This is the first research we are aware of that looks at exploiting realistic artificial skin as a new input method for augmenting devices," said Marc Teyssier, lead author of the study.

This means that the end user is able to use touch to express emotions through digital communication. Tickling the skin might display a laughing emoji, for example, while a strong grip could convey anger. And it's a technology that could become the norm pretty soon, as the researchers are inviting developers with an interest in the interface to get in touch.

Does the membrane need to be so realistic-looking, though? Could the skin not come in a charming color palette, or maybe in a classy brushed aluminum finish? Perhaps it will eventually, but right now the researchers are looking at embedding hair and temperature features in the membrane, so it won't be long before getting a new phone skin means... exactly that.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
456 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

The 2019 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

The 2019 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

View
Google AI can tell you how close your voice is to Freddie Mercury's

Google AI can tell you how close your voice is to Freddie Mercury's

View
Google demos Stadia UI and lists several missing launch features

Google demos Stadia UI and lists several missing launch features

View
Opera's latest browser update will show you how much you're being tracked

Opera's latest browser update will show you how much you're being tracked

View
Stanford publishes its massive Apple Watch heart-rate study

Stanford publishes its massive Apple Watch heart-rate study

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr