Mar 072010


Always thought your skin was more than just a thing to stop your insides falling out?

Well, you were right. Chris Harrison has developed Skinput, a way in which your skin can become a touch screen device or your fingers buttons on a MP3 controller. Harrison says that as electronics get smaller and smaller they have become more adaptable to being worn on our bodies, but the monitor and keypad/keyboard still have to be big enough for us to operate the equipment. This can defeat the purpose of small devices but with the clever acoustics and impact sensing software, Harrison and his team can give your skin the same functionality as a keypad. Add a pico projector attached to an arm band, and your wrist becomes a touch screen.

In the past, Harrison says he has used tables and walls as touch screens but has experimented using the surface area of our bodies because technology is now small enough to be carried around with us and we can’t always find an appropriate surface.

A third year PhD student in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, Harrison says we have roughly two square meters of external surface area, and most of it is easily accessible by our hands (eg: arms, upper legs, torso).

He has used the myriad sounds our body makes when tapped by a finger on different areas of say, an arm or hand or other fingers, and married these sounds to a computer function.

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