Researchers at MIT’s Media Lab are developing a wearable trackpad that is the size of a thumbnail. Inspired by the fashion industry, where nail covers are limited only by imagination, NailO. This wearable allows users to control computers, or connected devices wirelessly, by touching one adjacent finger to the device. Because your movements are relative, you could be laying on the couch controlling a cursor on screen and use up, down, left and right easily without having to do the mental translation of the movements.
The researchers envision the device could be extremely personable and therefore feel more like an extension of your body. The video introduction suggests some possible uses like easily changing the colour of lights, or navigating a menu while cooking.
It is envisaged that there would be a large array of personalisation options with NailO, thanks to the top of the device being easily customised. This allows the wearable the great flexibility of either blending in with a skin tone, or being an overt fashion statement with vibrant designs.
It’s a neat idea and only in prototype stage, but the biggest question would definitely be around battery life. Certainly connections would be made over Bluetooth LE, but with such little space, it’d be difficult to pack a plentiful battery. Given the electronics involved, it could make airport security a difficult process. Of course something that you wear should be able to cope with being outdoors and potentially getting wet during a rainy day, so we hope they can make it waterproof.