Researchers develop cell phone cover with artificial human skin

Researchers at Télécom Paris, an engineering school in France, led by Marc Teyssier, have developed a protective cover for cell phones made from artificial skin. This case, called Skin-On, acts as a tactile membrane, with which the device is able to "feel" its owner. The skin is able to respond to stimuli such as touches, rotations, pinches and even tickling.

Researchers develop cell phone cover with artificial human skin

Teyssier's idea for creating the cover was simple, he said, in an interview with New Science magazine. It all came from an uncontrollable urge to "pinch" your mobile device. The consequence was a skin that responds to different gestures that mimic human communication and emotion. The smartphone will be able to know if its owner is angry, sad or wants attention. A video posted on YouTube demonstrates the uses of "Skin-On". See below.

"Artificial skin has been extensively studied in many research areas, such as security, detection and the cosmetics industry," says Teyssier. "However, our study is the first to really consider exploring artificial skin as a new method for improving and evolving the use of connected devices," he concludes.

The team produced two different prototypes: one more realistic, with textures resembling human different another with a more uniform surface. The artificial skin consists of three layers, two of which are silicone, one wrapped with elastic copper wires.

Researchers develop cell phone cover with artificial human skin

Sensor development was a challenge. As Teyssier reveals, "The restriction was to create something that was elastic and at the same time capable of detecting touches." He had previously created a robotic finger for smartphones, allowing the device to drag across a surface. The next step is to create more realistic skin, including hair and a proper temperature.

Prototypes were developed for the phone case, computer touchpad and smartwatch . The group presents , ork at the ACM Symposium on software and user interface technology in New Orleans, United States. The entire software development process took three months to complete. 


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