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Sunday 23 July 2017
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NailO Lets You Control Your Phone with a Fingernail

NailO Lets You Control Your Phone with a Fingernail
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MIT Media Lab has been working to create a wearable which can turn your thumbnails into a wireless track pad of miniature size. Now you can discreetly send an email or text message even when you are in a meeting, without showing a bad business behavior. The surface is always readily available and you can give a one-handed input. This wearable will be extremely helpful for users in situations where input of speech or gestures would be considered inappropriate or impolite, or when both their hands are busy. The wearable has been named NailO and has been inspired by decorative nail stickers.

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Turn your Thumbnails into a Track Pad with NailO

NailO involves miniaturized hardware with many layers that transmits data wirelessly through Bluetooth to a PC or a laptop. It contains three different chips- a capacitive sensing chip, a Bluetooth radio chip and a microcontroller, a battery and capacitive sensors, all packed onto the consumer’s fingernail.

Despite the complicated hardware, the wearable is lightweight. You can even use it as nail art. So, it won’t look odd when you put it on your thumbnail. Researchers in fact have depicted a commercial version of NailO, which will have a surface membrane that can be detached and wearers will be able to match them with their outfits.

Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, who is the lead author of a paper describing NailO and a MIT graduate student said: “It’s very unobtrusive. When I put this on, it becomes part of my body.”

The Research

According to the paper, the tests that were carried out, five gestures were involved. NailO found out gestural inputs in real time which had more than 92 percent accuracy. The researchers say that for NailO to succeed, it should have the capability to ignore accidental gestures. They have proposed that to avoid this, a 2 second activation press should be there before any other gestures can be done.

The initial prototype was built with sensors by printing copper electrodes on strips of flexible polyester. They experimented with a set of electrode layouts. Now they are using strips of electrodes which are found off-the-shelf, like those in touchpads.

Artem Dementyev, a graduate student in media arts and sciences and the paper’s other lead author, said “The hardest part was probably the antenna design. You have to put the antenna far enough away from the chips so that it doesn’t interfere with them.”

Joe Paradiso, an MIT associate professor of media arts and sciences and principal research scientist Chris Schmandt are the advisers in this project.

With NailO, your nails will turn into a trackpad and you can use it whenever you like.

What’s your opinion on this? Will you use NailO when it releases in the market? We would like to hear your thoughts.

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