Phone Case Made From Artificial Skin Is Your Next Creepy Companion
This technology could open up new possibilities for robots, prosthetics and being generally grossed out
Skin-On is created by Marc Teyssier, a Ph.D student at Telecom ParisTech. Skin-On is an ultra-realistic skin interface that responds to touch. But can you pinch and tickle it you ask? Yes, you can you absolute sicko.
The skin has not only been made into a phone case but also for wearable devices like smart watches and touch pads.
The reasons for this skin’s creation are a little puzzling even after being explained by its creator.
"When we are talking to someone face-to-face, we sometimes use touch to convey affect, emotions and more generally enrich the discourse. Now that mediated communication is performed through the devices, we lost the sense of touch communication modality," Teyssier told Cnet.
If someone was pinching or tickling me in the middle of a conversation, I would argue the discourse was a little too enriched and ask them to stop. Thankfully for us a phone case cannot consent, and we can program it to love the flirty touches.
Teyssier thinks that adding artificial skin to technology is worth exploring and we’re reluctantly getting behind him. The vision behind Skin-On becomes a little clearer when you look at how the technology could be used in other areas such as adding artificial skin to robots or prosthetics.
"Artificial skins design for robots is usually focused on reproducing the tactile acuity and sensing capability, our design allows us to perform expressive gestures such as pinching while having a robust touch detection. The texture impacts the tactile perception and makes the interface more human like and realist," Teyssier said.
If you’re a tactile person (or lonely person) you will love the ability to interact with your phone through the skin. Skin-On’s website outlines that you can access your apps by tapping the skin, you can pinch the back of your phone to turn the volume up, use your finger as a joystick on a track pad and have better grip detection on the mobile.
The creepiest aspect of the design might be the fact it is programmed to pick up on different emotions, according to New Scientist. Tapping could mean the user is seeking attention and an abrupt hard pressure on the skin means you’re angry. So, be careful sending a passive aggressive texts, your phone might add some angry emojis on your behalf.
Apparently the 1999 sci-fi film Existenz inspired Teyssier to create Skin-On.
"I saw this movie when a was studying interaction design and I think it changed my view of technologies, how they look now and how they could look and feel in the future," he said.
Could he not have been inspired by 1999 sci-fi film Bicentennial man? I wouldn’t mind a sleek silver phone case with the voice and charisma of Robin Williams.
The skin consists of two different forms of silicone layers, and electrodes attached to a hardware controller. It has currently been made in two styles – smoother less realistic skin and the more unnerving very realistic skin. Teyssier said he's also explored different pigmentation including brown skin-tones.
Skin-On remains a prototype for now (thank god?).