CONSIDER THIS WACKY scenario: Someday, in addition to clasping a smartwatch around your wrist every morning, you’ll adhere a set of electronic stickers to your nails, too.
This is the vision of Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao and Artem Dementyev, two MIT researchers who’ve developed a miniature trackpad that fits on your thumbnail. They call their invention NailO, and it functions a lot like your laptop’s trackpad or mouse, working as an additional input method for the gadgets in your life.
Kao and Dementyev are both researchers at the MIT Media Lab, where Kao focuses on software and Dementyev on electrical engineering. For this project the two came together to explore what technology might look like as it creeps ever closer to our bodies. Their hypothesis: As hardware becomes smaller, thinner and more flexible, our personal technology will draw more inspiration from the cosmetics world. In other words, the future of wearables might look less like a Rolex and more like the patterned nail decals at Walgreens.
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