Skinput | Your skin, now a keyboard

A single hand and arm, with the palm facing up

This could be your next keyboard, thanks to Skinput. Image from Flickr.

Your next cell phone may not have a built-in keyboard of any kind – you may just be able to use Skinput instead. Now in development at Microsoft, Skinput is slated to become the newest form of human-computer interface. Skinput is still a few years away from being offered commercially, though with enough same day payday loans you might be able to build your own Skinput system.

Skinput based on vibrations

Despite the visions of sci-fi writers across the world, the Skinput system does not rely on implants in your skin. Instead, an armband around your elbow records and transmits vibrations via a Bluetooth connection. Tapping your fingers together or in various places on your arm produces vibrations at different frequencies, which allows a virtual “keyboard” to exist on your skin.

Pairing Skinput with a projector

The original design of Skinput is an interface that goes only one direction. You can send commands to your cell phone or computer through your armband. However, to see fully interactive menus or to read anything, you would have to pull your phone out. A small pica-projector, however, could solve this problem. The prototype projector is mounted on a frame above the arm, but there are hopes of shrinking this projector significantly.

When can you get Skinput?

The Skinput system is still about two to seven years away from a commercial application. Currently, the Skinput system is only 96 percent accurate with a five-button system. A full keyboard and navigational system built on Skinput would need at least 30 keys and up to 99 percent accuracy. Even though it is a few years away, the Skinput system will most likely start out very expensive – perhaps as costly as car loans. As the technology improves and shrinks, though, the Skinput system will become much more affordable. Some software programming specialists are already considering the possibilities for this new user interface. Perhaps the Skinput system could be paired with a contact lens display for a fully “integrated” day-to-day cell phone.

See Skinput in action