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Novel Multi-Touch Skin Patch Allows User to Control Electronic Devices

Multi-Touch Skin can be developed by inkjet-printing on a thin substrate of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) plastic, which can be adhered to the skin anywhere on the body

Latest study conducted by led Prof. Jürgen Steimle reported that they have developed new technology called as Multi-Touch Skin. In 2015, scientists from Germany’s Saarland University showcased iSkin stickers, which can be placed on body to control mobile devices. Multi-Touch Skin incorporates two stacked layers of electrodes arranged in rows and columns, forming a grid. Each piece of the Skin is hard-wired to a touch-controller microchip, which is in turn connected to a tiny battery-powered Raspberry Pi Zero microcomputer.

The skin patch is equipped with chip, which measures the electrical capacitance at every intersection within the grid of electrodes. Fingertips conduct electricity, when user touches the skin at specific location, allowing the charge to drain away at that intersection. The change in capacitance is detected by chip and registers the location. This can be performed for multiple touches simultaneously. The resulting signals are wirelessly transmitted to separate electronic devices, causing them to do different things depending on the type of touch detected.

Researchers have created four different touch-control interfaces using this technology, which includes bracelet featuring two-finger rotation function enabling users to change the color of an LED lamp. Two-finger sweep controls brightness. Moreover, a behind-the-ear sticker allows users to control the volume of a music player by swiping up or down, advance through tracks by swiping left or right, and pause playback by pressing. Furthermore, a forearm sticker allows user to send a text message from phone when it is squeezed and, a palm-mounted sticker that accepts or reject calls from a smartphone, with a touch. The research was presented in May 2018, at the CHI Human Factors in Computing Systems conference, in Montreal.