Tholzer's Review 1/25/2011: Skinput

Review of the article Skinput: Appropriating the Body as an Input Surface

Summary:

This article covers a novel input device which uses the transverse waves caused by tapping on the skin to detect where the tap was located. The researchers tested the device on a variety of individuals to test success rate of the sensor. The majority of their tests resulted in a roughly 90% success rate. The research is aimed at expanding the input area of mobile devices without expanding the size of the devices themselves.

Pros:

  • The researchers were careful to choose a wide array of test subject to experiment with the device.
  • The researchers bring up detecting that the device has the ability to detect what type of surface the user is in contact with. This seems like a very practical and cool use of the device.
  • The Size of the device in it's current manifestation is very impressive, to think of how small this could get is a definitive plus in it's favor.

Cons:

  • The device only allows quick skin interactions in it current configuration. Many Gui's today you dragging, sliding, etc. This device would struggle with any of those inputs
  • The device seems relatively limited in the number of buttons that are available. It seems that the device would not be accurate enough in a densely situated GUI which could lead to frustration
  • The device currently has a long configuration time. Although increased learning cases would improve time, many people still like to have a "plug and play" style device