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Industrie 4.0

Electronic skin enables non-contact control

Researchers have developed an ultra-thin electronic magnetic sensor that can be worn on the skin, allowing virtual and visual objects to be controlled without contact in augmented reality applications.

02 Feb. 2018
David Schahinian
Electronic skin enables non-contact control (Foto: Helmholtz-Zentrum)

Physicists from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) can give human skin undreamt-of properties. Together with colleagues from the Leibniz-Institut für Festkörper- und Werkstoffforschung (IFW) and Johannes Kepler University Linz (JKU), they have developed a thin sheet with sensors that clings to the palm of the hand. In the future, objects such as telephones or control panels will be able to be operated with gestures alone. As the sensors are also resistant to bending and distortions, they are ideal for use in textiles and other soft, workable materials, for example.

Another possible application owes to the fact that no direct line of sight between the object and sensors is necessary. This would mean, for instance, that security forces could operate buttons and controls in rooms they are unable to enter due to a dangerous situation. Unlike with most gloves and glasses, this makes very intuitive VR/AR applications possible. The new sensors work in combination with a permanent magnet: “Our electronic skin tracks the movements of a hand, for example, by setting its position in relation to the external magnetic fields of the permanent magnet,” explains Cañón Bermúdez from HZDR.