According to Techradar, MIT’s Media Lab has come up with a fingernail-mounted trackpad, called “NailO.” The device includes a capacitive-touch surface, microcontroller, a battery, and a Bluetooth chip all inside a tiny little packaging that can be easily worn on a user’s thumb.
“It’s very unobtrusive,” says Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, MIT graduate student and lead author on a paper about NailO, in an interview with Cnet, “When I put this on, it becomes part of my body.”
Kao says that are various situations where this device may prove to be useful, for example while cooking or while at a formal dinner. Basically any situation where your hands are tied, NailO will come to your rescue.
The device can be connected with mobile devices and the capacitive surface sports gesture recognition; these gestures allow the user to perform different functions on a PC or on a phone. A few of these tested by the team include press, left/right swipe, top/down swipe, and multi-finger gestures. They gained a little above 92% accuracy; however researches fear that there are high chances of unintentional activation since it’ll be worn a lot.
Unlike the case of many wearable tech devices, NailO is rather attractive. It can be customized according to users’ wishes, as they can apply nail art to match with their clothes. The team wrote on its website: “NailO blends into and decorates one’s body when attached, yet remains removable at the wearer’s discretion, giving the wearer power and control over the level of intimacy of the device to one’s body.”
Kao and her team are looking to further reduce the size of the device for which they’re in search of battery manufacturers in China. Unfortunately though, NailO will not be commercially available for possibly another three years.