Over the past few years, technology and AI have made a range of advancements — some for the better, and others not so much. Now it's time to put your fears of the future to rest, as a phone case made out of artificial skin might soon become a reality.
Designed by researchers from the Bristol Interaction Group, the "touch-sensitive" phone case reportedly looks and feels a lot like human flesh. Gross or genius?
Crafted using the Skin-On Interfaces technology, it claims to enhance certain gesture-related capabilities of electronic devices such as cell phones and touch pads. The faux-flesh, which claims to add a "personal touch," responds to commands such as pressing, pressure, tickling, stroking, grabbing, and stretching.
But how does that work? The material is created to relate the gestures with certain emotional responses. Stroking is associated with comfort, for instance, while pressure relates with anger. The skin will also help convert the gestures into functions like being able to add a laugh emoji to your text by tickling.
The mastermind behind this slightly bizarre invention is Marc Teyssier of Telecom ParisTech, who worked along with researchers from HCI Sorbonne Universite and CNRS, to develop the technology.
"Skin-On Interfaces are devices that augment existing devices with realistic skin," Teyssier writes. "When we interact with others, we use skin as interfaces. However the objects of mediated communication - such as the smartphone - still has a cold interface that doesn't allow natural interaction and input. In this project, I wanted to make available the perfect human interface that is the skin for existing device."
So the question remains, would anyone actually buy it? Luckily customers have some time to ruminate, since there's no mention of the product going on sale yet.
Photo courtesy of Marc Teyssier