Researchers at Seoul National University (SNU) have developed a transparent and stretchable touchpad, designed to be worn on the forearm, that enables users to control apps and games on a separate screen.
The device is made from a water-rich polyacrylamide hydrogel with lithium chloride added, and the researchers applied a voltage across the device and designed a circuit that could tell precisely where the surface is being touched.
The touchpad is biocompatible, which means it can be worn snugly against the skin for long periods of time without a toxic reaction.
In demonstrations, the team used the device to draw pictures, write, play music, and play games.
The material also can stretch to 10 times its original surface area without affecting its function.
The researchers plan to add multi-touch capabilities, which would let users complete "pinch-to-zoom" actions that are common on smartphones, says SNU's Jeong-Yun Sun.
Separately, a team at the University of Tokyo is developing a paper-thin polymer skin that can turn the back of a human hand into a digital display.
Meanwhile, other researchers are developing devices to be worn on the body or wrist that project an interface onto the skin.
From New Scientist
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