A team of researchers has devices an artificial skin that could be used in the manufacturing of future smartphones.
The prototype skin can be wrapped across the body of a smartphone, and it was designed to look and feel like human skin. It can respond in real-time to several forms of contact, including gestures like tickling, caressing and pinching.
Skin-On can be placed on smartphones, wearable devices, and touchpads. It was created by a mixed team of researchers from the University of Bristol, Sorbonne University, and Telecomm Paris Tech. The creators are confident that the project will serve as the first in a series of anthropomorphic devices, as more gadgets will mimic human traits in the future.
According to one of the researchers who contributed to the project, Skin-On may seem to be a bit unconventional at first, but it offers several advantages in comparison to popular smartphone cases that are currently available on the market.
The artificial skin includes two layers of silicone, which play the role of the dermis and hypodermis, with a layer of electrodes being placed between them. During the project two types of silicon were dipped in pigment and shaped to create a skin-like texture. It is mentioned that the layer of artificial skin allows devices to feel when they are being held and to react to small interactions, among which we can count caresses, tickling, or even twisting and pinching gestures.
One of the features is the ability to react to gestures with emojis. A strong grip will trigger an anger emoji while tickling will offer a laughing one. In some cases taps will lead to a surprising emoji. A functional prototype will be displayed during an upcoming science symposium in the US.
The primary aim of the project is to allow users to convey a larger range of emotions with the help of their favorite devices. It seems that anthropomorphic devices could become a reality in the future.