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Body Acoustics Can Turn Your Arm Into a Touchscreen

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Skinput interface on hand

By combining acoustic sensors and a mini-projector, the Skinput interface puts a keypad on your hand.

Credit: ACM

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Microsoft have developed Skinput, a skin-based interface that turns the human body into a touchscreen. Skinput merges the ability to detect the ultra-low frequency sound produced by tapping the skin with a finger, and the microchip-sized "pico" projectors found in some cell phones. Skinput projects a keyboard or menu onto the user's forearm and hand from a projector built into an armband. The armband also contains an acoustic detector, which calculates which part of the display should be activated. The researchers have identified various locations on the forearm and hand that make distinctive acoustic patterns when tapped.

The acoustic detector contains five piezoelectric cantilevers, each designed to respond to certain bands of sound frequencies. Skinput also could be used to wirelessly transmit commands to electronic devices, such as cell phones and PCs.

From New Scientist
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