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Brief Published: 24 Mar 2015

iSkin: Electronic Skin Stickers


Scientists at the Saarland University in Germany have developed flexible, stretchable skin stickers that can be used to control mobile devices.

Developed in tandem with researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in the US, the silicon rubber stickers are fitted with pressure-sensitive sensors that transform the body into a touch-sensitive surface.

The touch input could be used to perform a number of different tasks. For example, the scientists suggest the stickers could provide a discreet way to decline a call during an important meeting, allowing users to simply touch their arm to silence the distraction.

The stickers currently connect to a computer system via a cable, but the researchers believe that in the future, built-in microchips may allow skin-worn sensors to connect wirelessly with mobile devices.

Users can customise the stickers into a variety of shapes, sizes and designs to suit individual needs – much like the printable touchscreens also developed this year by the Saarland scientists.

"The stickers allow us to enlarge the input space accessible to the user as they can be attached practically anywhere on the body," Martin Weigel, a PhD student in the research team at Saarland University, said in a statement.

A growing number of scientists and designers are exploring the potential of micro-projectors, draw-on sensors and embeddable electronics to create a more intuitive interface than small-screened smartwatches.

For more wearable innovations, check out our coverage of this month's Wearable Technology Show.