Wearable electronic skin used to control virtual objects

Science and Technology

Researchers have developed a flexible ‘e-skin’ that is capable of tracking small movements and therefore endow users with novel means of manipulating physical or virtual objects.

The artificial skin consists of two film layers that cover a tiny magnetic field sensor, and is 3.5 micrometers thick altogether. Photographs of the entire 2D sensor are shown in the image.

It is able to track and replicate movement in a virtual environment by using a magnet as a reference point. Whenever the ‘e-skin’ is near a magnet, the sensor produces a voltage that varies depending on the angle relative to the magnetic field. This output voltage is then monitored by a software and used to reconstruct the exact position of the sensor.

‘One day, this technology could allow people to interact with virtual worlds using only their bodies.’

Among the potential applications for this technology, the team of researchers highlighted the potential to ‘engineer more life-like robots that can sense their own movements without the need for bulky hardware’. Also, the ‘e-skin’ would allow gamers to ‘reach out and interact with virtual worlds using only their hands’.


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