UC Berkeley researcher and artist Eric Paulos and his students continue their explorations of "cosmetic computing" with a new prototype and paper about "Human Hair as Interactive Material." If you'd like to coif your own computational locks, they've posted a how-to guide on Instructables. From their research page:
Human hair is a cultural material, with a rich history displaying individuality, cultural expression and group identity. It is malleable in length, color and style, highly visible, and embedded in a range of personal and group interactions. As wearable technologies move ever closer to the body, and embodied interactions become more common and desirable, hair presents a unique and little-explored site for novel interactions. In this paper, we present an exploration and working prototype of hair as a site for novel interaction, leveraging its position as something both public and private, social and personal, malleable and permanent. We develop applications and interactions around this new material in HäirIÖ: a novel integration of hair-based technologies and braids that combine capacitive touch input and dynamic output through color and shape change. Finally, we evaluate this hair-based interactive technology with users, including the integration of HäirIÖ within the landscape of existing wearable and mobile technologies.
For more, please listen to Mark Frauenfelder and I interview Eric about Cosmetic Computing in this episode of For Future Reference, a podcast from Institute for the Future:
Researchers at Telecom Paris have developed an artificial skin that responds to stroking, pinching, tapping, and tickling. To demonstrate it, they covered a mobile phone with the skin and showed how it could work as a back-of-the-device interface. The video also shows how the material can be used to give robots a skin that “feels” […]
Beware the rogue .wav file.
Canadian camouflage developer HyperStealth Biotechnology Corp released a series of videos demonstrating their new “patent-pending” “Quantum Stealth Light Bending Material (Invisibility Cloak).” Here is HyperStealth’s technical video about the technology and their press release.
In recent years, natural language processing technology and language translation technology have advanced greatly. The trouble is, language translation software typically comes in the form of apps. And while your mileage may vary on their usefulness, they share one thing in common: a serious drain on the battery for your smartphone, the very thing you’ll […]
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As cool as your smartphone is, it can’t do everything. When a job requires a little elbow grease, a multitool is a great thing to have around – and might just save your life in the right situation. Here’s a roundup of some of the latest multitool designs, which have come a long way since […]