Skinput: projecting a UI onto your own body


It’s hard to give Carnegie Mellon PhD student Chris Harrison’s Skinput a fair shake without automatically assuming it’s a variant of Pravan Mistry’s Sixth Sense project. Nevertheless, it does employ different tech: Mistry’s Sixth Sense is optical; Skinput uses a “novel, non-invasive, wearable bio-acoustic sensor” to track your gestures.

We present Skinput, a technology that appropriates the human body for acoustic transmission, allowing the skin to be used as a finger input surface. In particular, we resolve the location of finger taps on the arm and hand by analyzing mechanical vibrations that propagate through the body. We collect these signals using a novel array of sensors worn as an armband. This approach provides an always-available, naturally-portable, and on-body interactive surface. To illustrate the potential of our approach, we developed several proof-of-concept applications on top of our sensing and classification system.

Created with Desney Tan and Dan Morris of Microsoft Research. Harrison will formally present the project at CHI2010 this April.

[via Core77]

4 thoughts on “Skinput: projecting a UI onto your own body

  1. John Stoner says:

    I imagine there are issues of comparative accuracy between Sixth Sense and Skinput. The Sixth Sense video input technology seems like it might be more reliable, but it requires those colored fingertip things.

    This looks less accurate, and it looks like it requires training of the system. Also variations in how hard you hit your skin with your fingers might cause inaccuracies, so some user training might also be needed, I think.

    Also, this doesn’t quite have the scope of Sixth Sense–they’re developing an entire new interaction model with the information embedded in and associated with our environment. This doesn’t quite do that.

  2. Alan Parekh says:

    If this catches on you will get worse looks than the early adopters of cell phone head sets.

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