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Microsoft’s Skinput System Turns Skin into a Touchscreen

Posted By Ariel Schwartz On March 2, 2010 @ 8:00 pm In green gadgets,Innovation | 8 Comments

sustainable design, skinput, microsoft, carnegie mellon, touchscreens, iphone, green design, eco design

Touchscreens [1] have revolutionized the way we communicate with electronics, but sometimes they can get a little cramped — wouldn’t it be great if the iPhone [2]‘s screen was just a little bit bigger? One creative solution is Skinput [3], a device that uses a pico projector [4] to beam graphics (keyboards, menus, etc.) onto a user’s palm and forearm, transforming the skin into a computer interface.

sustainable design, skinput, microsoft, carnegie mellon, touchscreens, iphone, green design, eco design

The device, built as a collaboration between researchers at Carnegie Mellon University [5] and Microsoft [3], uses the different sounds emitted when we tap various parts of our skin (AKA acoustic patterns) to figure out what icon, menu, or key is tapped. Skinput contains five piezoelectric [6] cantilevers to detect sound frequencies and respond to different “skin buttons”. The system is surprisingly on target. It can detect 5 skin locations with 95.5% accuracy–about the same as many actual touchscreen devices.

No word on when Skinput might actually be integrated into electronic devices, but we wonder if the technology could one day eliminate — or at least cut down on — the use of actual touchscreens [1] in mobile devices. Check out the video below.

+ Skinput [3]

Via PhysOrg [7]

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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/microsofts-skinput-system-turns-skin-into-a-touchscreen/

URLs in this post:

[1] Touchscreens: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/02/04/worlds-first-solar-powered-circuit-could-revolutionize-touchscreen-tech/

[2] iPhone: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/12/17/top-7-best-green-iphone-apps/

[3] Skinput: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/groups/cue/skinput/index.html

[4] pico projector: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handheld_projector

[5] Carnegie Mellon University: http://www.cmu.edu/index.shtml

[6] piezoelectric: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/01/28/scientist-develop-flexible-energy-harvesting-rubber-sheets/

[7] PhysOrg: http://www.physorg.com/news186681149.html

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