Between voice commands, motion tracking, and brainwaves, there are many ways the future can go when it comes to controlling our next-generation of mobile devices. A new wearable called NailO could be one of those options.
Created by a group of MIT researchers, it’s a wireless mobile controller that looks nothing more than a decorative nail sticker at first glance. Under the sticker’s colorful facade, though, sits an ensemble of tiny electronic components that allow it to pair with devices over Bluetooth to serve as a miniature trackpad.
The NailO uses a multi-purpose chip that combines a wireless radio, a micro-controller, and capacitive sensors, along with a 0.5mm battery. When worn on a person’s thumbnail, users simply swipe and tap on the sticker to control any paired device, allowing them to navigate PCs, smartphones, and tablets from a distance. From the onset, the creators see it as being useful in a couple of situations: (1) as a more efficient alternative for applications that require nothing more than short taps (e.g. reading on a tablet); (2) to avoid soiling the screen when your hands are dirty (e.g. when you’re fixing the car and need to go online for information).
In its current form, the device can identify five different gestures at a 92 percent accuracy, which, for all practical purposes, renders it unsuitable for commercialization. Down the line, though, the team hopes to improve the technology, in terms of both recognizing more gestures and doing so with higher accuracy.