Tap Your Skin to Control Your Smartphone

The skin is indeed the “next frontier” for new wearable devices.

The days of reaching into your pocket to take a call on your smartphone will soon be a thing of the past, according to a team of American and German computer scientists.

iSkin allows you to control your smartphone.iSkin allows you to control your smartphone.

You see, researchers from Saarland University in Germany and Carnegie Mellon University in the US just unveiled iSkin, which is a smart patch that can be placed anywhere on your body.

That’s right your skin is now a new digital platform. All you have to do is tap the patch a couple of times and you can answer calls, as well as control the volume on your music. And you can even text on a roll-out patch from a smartwatch.

“The human skin is recognized as a promising input surface for interactions with mobile and wearable devices,” writes the  team of computing scientists in their published work that will also be presented at the upcoming SIGCHI (Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction) conference this April (2015) in Seoul, Korea.

The researchers indicate in their paper that “iSkin is made of multiple layers of thin, flexible and stretch-able silicone. The base material is polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), an easy-to-process silicone-based organic polymer. PDMS is fully transparent, elastic, and a highly biocompatible material.”

The prototype the research team invented is run through wires connected to a computer, but soon small integrated chips will be used for proper and efficient wireless connectivity to the smart patch.

iSkin is a smart patch that you can wear anywhere on your body.iSkin is a smart patch that you can wear anywhere on your body.

The patch, which is loaded with all sorts of high-tech protected sensors, responds instantly when being tapped or touched. Users can also roll the patch up and store it away just about anywhere when not using it.

The team of researchers anticipate that the cost for each iSkin patch will be $1.00.

While there are all sorts of gadgets on the market that connect the skin with a variety of devices, the inventors of iSkin contend that their invention is the ‘Real McCoy’ in wearable technology.

"I am not aware of other smart patches that sense touch input," says Jürgen Steimle, a computer scientist at Saarland University and co-inventor of iSkin.

So, will this new technology be a hit on the market? 

The computing science researchers from Saarland University in Germany and Carnegie Mellon University think their new invention will be a huge hit among smartphone users.