In some news that should be categorized as "why the hell did they do this", researchers from Telecom Paris have made an artificial skin that has some truly unique properties. Check out this video:
The new artificial human skin is interesting, as it reacts to stroking, pinching, tapping, and even tickling... with the researchers covering a smartphone with it and using it on the back of the device. They also used it on a smartwatch, and I'm sure it'll have a million-and-one use cases, but for now I'm just scratching my head.
Skin-On Interfaces are "sensitive skin-like input methods than can be added to existing devices to increase their capabilities" which is explained on this website. This project saw the researchers wanting to make the "perfect human interface that is the skin for existing devices". The researchers took inspiration from human skin in order to design the "perfect artificial skin".
- From a sensory point of view, I study how to reproduce the visual, tactile and kinesthetic aspects of the human skin. I used the silicone to mimic the skin deformability with reference to relevant literature. I investigate how visual factors (color) and haptic factors (texture and thickness) impact user experience and the perception of realism.
- From a gestural point of view, I explore how gestures naturally performed on the skin can be transposed to Skin-On interfaces. I use this knowledge to propose a series of gestures that are desirable for Skin-on interfaces (e.g. multitouch touch, pressure and complex gestures such as strokes, stretching or grabbing).
- From a sensing point of view, I try to reproduce a skin sensing layer that can track natural gestures with a spatial acuity comparable to human skin.