This Invention Turns Your Hand Into a Touchscreen

The Internet of Things could soon extend to your skin, with your hands working like a touchscreen. Researchers at the University of Sussex in England have invented “SkinHaptics,” a system that sends ultrasound through the hand to create a sense of touch. Previous haptic technology has used pins or other vibrating parts, touch the skin and then block the “display” area of your hands. The new system is different because it uses sound to provide touch feedback, so the hand is available to become a touchscreen.

SkinHaptics uses a technique called “time reversal” ultrasound, where waves become more targeted as they travel through the hand and then end at precise points on the palm. So, when the device is placed on the back of the hand, it would actually feel like it is touching your palm. With further development, this technology could be used in similar ways to smart watch applications. For example, SkinHaptics could send the sensation of a tap on the wrist to notify users of incoming calls or tell them to whether to turn left or right when following directions. A projector could also create a display on a user’s hand, turning the skin into a perpetual touchscreen. The researchers presented their findings at the IEEE Haptics Symposium 2016 in Philadelphia.

Source: University of Sussex

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