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Would you use this faux-human skin phone case?


TextKatie Scott

Skin-on Interfaces technology responds to stroke and tickle commands

A new phone case that looks and feels like human flesh and responds to touch interactions could be on its way. 

A group of researchers in the Bristol Interaction Group have put forth designs for a touch-sensitive silicone technology called ‘Skin-on Interfaces’ which increases the capabilities of devices, including mobile phones and laptop touchpads by enabling new forms of input gestures. Adding a more ‘personal touch’ to our impersonal interactive devices, the faux-flesh responds to commands via pressing, stroking, tickling, stretching and grabbing. The artificial skin is programmed to associate these different gestures with particular emotions. For example, pressure is associated with anger, while stroking correlates with comfort. The flesh will also translate gestures into functions, whether that’s turning the volume up through twisting the skin or sending a laughing emoji through tickling.

“When we interact with others, we use skin as interfaces,” explains Marc Teyssier, lead study author and human computer interactive designer. “However the objects of mediated communication – such as the smartphone – still has a cold interface that doesn’t allow natural interaction and input. In this project, I wanted to make available the perfect human interface that is the skin for existing devices.”

As we become increasingly intimate with technology and our bodies are constantly mediated by machines, is this the next step in devices becoming extensions of our sensory bodies?

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