First Ticklish devices created by Artificial Skin

The touch technology has been taken to the next level by a new interface that is developed by the researchers in Bristol and Paris. It provides an artificial skin like membrane for augmenting interactive devices such as phones, computers and wearable.

This skin on interface was developed by researchers at the University of Bristol, in partnership with Telecomm Paris Tech and Sorbonne University. This mimics the human skin not only in appearance, but also in sensing resolutions.

A bio driven approach was adopted by the researchers to develop a multi layer silicone membrane. It mimicked the layers present in the skin of humans. This is made up of a surface textured layer, an electrode layer of conductive threads and a hypodermis layer. This interface is more natural than a rigid casing. This interface can also detect a plethora of gestures made by the end users. This artificial skin allows devices to feel the grasp of the user, as a result of this technology. It can also sense the pressure and its location of the user’s grasp. It can also sense interactions such as, tickling, caressing, and even pinching and twisting.

Dr. Anne Roudatt, Associate Professor in Human Computer Interactions at the University of Bristol, who supervised this research, said that this was the first time they had the opportunity to add skin to their interactive devices. This was a surprising idea but it is a fact that human skin is an interface; we are all highly familiar with. So, it was the idea to use it with its richness with the devices used by humans every day.

Artificial skin is a subject of high level study in the field of robotics. It focuses on safety, sensing or cosmetic arms. This was the first research we know about that looks at exploiting realistic artificial skin, as a new input method for augmenting devices.

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