SenSkin: adapting skin as a soft interface

We present a sensing technology and input method that uses skin deformation estimated through a thin band-type device attached to the human body, the appearance of which seems socially acceptable in daily life. An input interface usually requires feedback. SenSkin provides tactile feedback that enables users to know which part of the skin they are touching in order to issue commands. The user, having found an acceptable area before beginning the input operation, can continue to input commands without receiving explicit feedback. We developed an experimental device with two armbands to sense three-dimensional pressure applied to the skin. Sensing tangential force on uncovered skin without haptic obstacles has not previously been achieved. SenSkin is also novel in that quantitative tangential force applied to the skin, such as that of the forearm or fingers, is measured. An infrared (IR) reflective sensor is used since its durability and inexpensiveness make it suitable for everyday human sensing purposes. The multiple sensors located on the two armbands allow the tangential and normal force applied to the skin dimension to be sensed. The input command is learned and recognized using a Support Vector Machine (SVM). Finally, we show an application in which this input method is implemented.