Researchers at Telecom Paris in France have devised an artificial skin for interactive devices that responds to touch. The skin is able to detect a variety of gestures, including sliding, stretching and rotation. The artificial skin is programmed to associate different gestures with certain emotions. Sudden hard pressure on the skin is associated with anger and tapping is a means of seeking attention, while sustained contact and stroking are associated with providing comfort.
The team developed two prototypes: one with a creepily realistic textured layer that resembles human skin and another with a more uniform surface. The artificial skin is made of three layers, consisting of a layer of stretchable copper wire sandwiched between two layers of silicone. Pressure on the skin changes the electric charge of the system. The team created a phone case, computer touch pad and smart watch to demonstrate how the artificial skin works.