Wireless trackpad on the nail

Researchers at the MIT Media Laboratory have designed a wearable device that turns your thumbnail in a small wireless trackpad. The prototype device was shown during the meeting Computer-Human Interaction (CHI), organized in Seoul by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). The design of the device is clearly inspired by the ornamental sticker that women be relevant on their nails, a cosmetic product very popular in Asia.

The researchers chose the thumbnail as it has a hard surface with no courage ending and is easily accessible with your other fingers. Given its small size, the user does not notice wearing a trackpad that, therefore turn out to be part of the body. NailO integrates a microcontroller, a Bluetooth module, a chip that detects movement and a touch sensor. The antenna design has been the most difficult part, because you had to keep away from interference with neighboring chip.

Wireless trackpad on the nail

To test various layouts of electrodes, the researchers initially realized the sensors by printing copper electrodes on sheets of flexible polyester. Later they were used sheets of electrodes similar to those found in some trackpad. NailO can recognize five gestures with an accuracy of 92%.

Before marketing, it is necessary to further reduce the size. The researchers have already contacted several manufacturers who can achieve a battery only half a millimeter thick and a chip that combines the functions of microcontroller radio module and capacitive sensor.