Microsoft’s Skinput System Turns Skin into a Touchscreen

The device, built as a collaboration between researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Microsoft, uses the different sounds emitted when we tap various parts of our skin (AKA acoustic patterns) to figure out what icon, menu, or key is tapped. Skinput contains five piezoelectric cantilevers to detect sound frequencies and respond to different “skin buttons”. The system is surprisingly on target. It can detect 5 skin locations with 95.5% accuracy–about the same as many actual touchscreen devices.

No word on when Skinput might actually be integrated into electronic devices, but we wonder if the technology could one day eliminate — or at least cut down on — the use of actual touchscreens in mobile devices.

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