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Artificial skin may provide a natural feel for smartphones.

Out There | November 7, 2019 | By:

Scientists have developed a new product called Skin-On that’s meant to look and feel like a human, as well as react to caressing, tickling and pinching. According to an article on, the interfaces are sensitive cases that can be attached to mobile phones, wearable devices and laptop touchpads to increase their capabilities. 

Skin-On artificial skin is made of three layers, including a top, textured layer built by pouring Dragon Skin silicone on a skin-like texture mold. Paint or makeup can be added to shade the artificial skin with flesh-like tones. A lattice of stretchable copper wire is sandwiched between another layer of silicone. Pressure on the skin changes the electric charge of the system.

Photo: Marc Teyssien

The interface is programmed to associate different gestures with certain emotions. Putting pressure on the skin is associated with anger, and tapping is a way of expressing the need for attention. Sustained contact and stroking register as comfort.

The technology was developed by researchers at the University of Bristol in partnership with Telecom Paristech and Sorbonne University in Paris. The next stage in the research will involve making the skin more realistic, using embedded hair and temperature features. 

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