Cramped fingers got you down? Well texters and smartphone users may soon find some relief with emerging technology that essentially uses a skin-based interface to turn the human body into a touchscreen.
The method, called Skinput, lets the skin be used as a finger input system, using non-invasive, wearable bio-acoustic sensor. It marries two technologies: the detection of ultralow-frequency sound produced by tapping the skin with a finger and microchip-sized \'pico\' projectors available in some cellphones, according to news reports.
Researchers’ prototype device uses an armband, which beams a keyboard or menu on the user’s forearm. Then an acoustic detector housed in the armband, calculates which section of the display the users wants activated, Yahoo News said.
For example, users could control an iPod mounted with armband and select their tunes with the skin-touch input while on the move.
The technology was developed by Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon University.
“In our prototype system, we choose to focus on the arm (although the technique could be applied elsewhere),” researchers said. “This is an attractive area to appropriate as it provides considerable surface area for interaction, including a contiguous and flat area for projection.”
So, what’s coming next? Researchers appear to have big plans. Beyond iPods, perhaps users can place calls by dialing numbers on their forearms with the technology. The possibilities are endless.