iSkin lets you control your smartphone via electronic skin sensors

Put this electronic skin on your arm, behind your ear or on your finger
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Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Informatics in Germany have created an electronic film that uses pressure sensitive sensors and can be attached to your regular skin.

iSkin uses silicon rubber and a medical grade adhesive that allows the wearer to stretch and bend it to fit on comfortably on the body as well as easily attach and remove the device. The best way to describe it is that its a kind of thin, flexible film with electronic sensors.

The uses we have seen so far involve the iSkin prototype controlling smartphones - for instance, a rollout QWERTY keyboard for your forearm. The on-body wearable is wired for now.

Martin Weigel, one of the developers of the iSkin, told Reuters: "Wearable electronics are mostly using rigid components which are very uncomfortable to wear on the body and are limiting the locations to, for example, the wrist or on the head.

"Our sensor is a flexible and stretchable sensor so it can cover many locations, including on the back of the ear," he added.

The potential for this thin, soft, flexible form factor in smart jewellery and smart clothing is absolutely huge so we'll be keeping an eye on its developments. We've seen stick-on wearables before such as AmpStrip for fitness but the original aims of this research were actually to develop a skin for use in robotics.

As for the work to come, the computer science researchers at Max Planck want to make it wireless and also look into using kinetic energy from the body to power iSkin. For more details, watch the Reuters hands on YouTube video.

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Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

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