Science Advances has published a study on the prospects for using "electronic skin" - a new type of interface. The thin film contains elements for manipulating the magnetic field with a sufficiently high accuracy. It can be shaped like a glove and, using a signal receiver, capture the slightest finger movements, recognizing complex human gestures.
Virtual reality gravitates towards two classic types of manipulators for working with objects in the digital space. This is a gamepad that you need to take in your hand, or a camera to track the position of this hand in space. The Achilles' heel of both systems is a high error, the inability to accurately capture small movements. As a result, the user misses the buttons of the virtual keyboard, makes mistakes in games, etc.
In contrast, "electronic skin" acts like an array of sensors, distributed over the entire surface of the arm. Special software calculates the nature of the effect of each of them on the receiver's magnetic field. That is, you can move different fingers and this will be interpreted as a series of separate actions. The user does not even need to see what he “gropes” in the virtual space - the system will still react to these gestures.
The authors of the study describe three areas of application of this technology. The first and most obvious one is to improve the accuracy of interaction with the virtual environment. The second is the ability to manipulate an infinite assortment of objects in augmented reality. Today we are only given to press the drawn buttons, but tomorrow we will be able to peel a virtual orange with an electronic hand. And the third direction is to improve the accuracy of the operation of prostheses and remote access devices, for example, the manipulators of a sapper robot. The sensitivity of "e-skin" allows you to do this.