Innovative Sensor Nails: Wearable Tech and Electronic Nail Art

Wearable tech is constantly expanding into unexplored domains. Sensors and electronics embedded into nails create new frontiers in  sensory experience. This impressive tracking technology that implants sensors into gel manicure in the  form of nail art is the creation of Kristina Ortega and Jenny Roddenhouse, two L.A.-based art and design students who have successfully blended electronics and gels. High end wearable fashion entrenched in state-of-the-art electronics is colorfully manifested in this futuristic nail art.


Sensor Nails: Source: Damn Geeky.comSensor Nails: Source: Damn


In the words of Kristina Ortega: "Everyone's really excited about new technology for weaables...A lot of them are very one-size-fits-all. But they're meant for the body, which is very intimate, so there's room for getting really specific and seeing what could happen from that specificity."

How do Sensor Nails work?


Implanted Sensors: Source: DamnGeeky.comImplanted Sensors: Source:


These Sensor Nails are not "just another pretty face," so to speak. High tech nail art goes above and beyond
 conventional definition with these touch augmentation nail attachments that provide "bio-feedback" and "programmed reminders" users can customize to suit their own specific needs.

It takes about two hours to apply this unique nail art and maybe more, depending on the complexity of the chosen augmentation. Users have to carefully manage the wires and long extensions. Decorative designs include embedded rhinestones and crackled polish. Haptic feedback technology (the science and physiology of the sense of touch) as well as Arduino, (an open source electronics platform intended for interactive projects), piezo and flex sensors all combine to create this very high end wearable fashion. Piezo-electric nails, which were developed using piezo crystals,  are unique because the impact of fingertips hitting a hard surface generates a small amount of electricity.

The new mock nail salon

Sponsored by Intel, customers are excited to book appointments for their state-of-the-art electronic nail art. Using human nail beds as perfect nests for unique digital sensors allows wearers to track both their movements and their behaviors. Unlike other gadgets and gizmos of this high tech digital era, electronic nail art requires rigorous self-maintenance and regular salon visits and updates. Some sensors are more complicated than others and programmers as well as technicians may hopefully one day be on hand to hone and customize data and allow for the coding of specific behaviors.

Sensor design and experimentation


Breadboard: Source: Instructables.comBreadboard: Source:


The sensors utilized in the current nail designs are still larger than desired and require watch batteries to run efficiently. But the two nail afficionados are working on this and envision a future when they can create smaller sensors and different power sources. Experimentations include Breadboard nail designs shaped like cats. A breadboard is a construciton base for a one-of-a-kind electronic circuit; a protype that would allow crcuits to run without soldering.

The future of Sensor Nails

The future of funky finger paint may well be here. Using fingernails as an artistic canvas for designs is both innovative and ingenious  and the two creators of Sensor Nails are doing all they can to keep up with many of their clients' requests. Demands are outrageous and range from studs, hoops, rhinestones, clunky 3-D printed objects and similar functionality as that found on a phone app to more edgy, far out demands. According to Ortega: "Somebody once asked me if they could put their office onto their nails!"

Time will tell on the success of this amazing innovation although winding a watch to keep perfect time could be problematic with these sensory augmentations.

Closing thoughts on nails and nail polish:

If nail care is wrong, I don't want to be right. ~ Amonymous

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