This phone cover that can detect touch will make your skin crawl

Researchers in France have developed a realistic-looking artificial human skin phone cover that can detect human tactile interaction in a way that allows for “more natural interaction and input”.

Showcasing their effort to create mobile device covers that look, feel and react like actual human flesh, researchers at Telecom Paris presented the Skin-On phone covers at this year’s ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology in New Orleans.

The Skin-On Interface mimics the skin’s deformability with two layers of silicone, and wires between these layers detect the touch of users.

Writing on his website, the creator of the Skin-On Interface, Marc Teyssier, explained that the basis for the creation of these lifelike covers was to foster greater and more natural interactions with our devices.

“When we interact with others, we use skin as interfaces. However, the objects of mediated communication – such as the smartphone – still has a cold interface that doesn’t allow natural interaction and input,” Teyssier wrote.

“In this project, I wanted to make available the perfect human interface – that is the skin – for existing devices.”

In an effort to make the skin even more realistic, some cosmetic changes are also applied.

“Paint or makeup can be added to shade the artificial skin with flesh like tonal variation, thus increasing anthropomorphism,” said Teyssier.

The Skin-On Interface isn’t the first unusual and creepy invention to come from Teyssier and his team. Last year, they released a robotic finger that plugs into a phone and is able to carry out a variety of actions like stroking, waving, beckoning and crawling.

While the team’s latest addition to the tech landscape is certainly a little unsettling, its creators believe Skin-On opens up an entirely different way of interacting with our devices, and some people have also expressed excitement at the possibility this technology may hold for prosthetics.

Check out a video of the On-Skin Interface below.


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