App Controls Smartphone at the Simple Touch of Hair

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An app that lets users control their smartphone simply by touching their hair has been built, taking motion sensors and wearable technology to a whole new level. Someone touching his or her hair while having a conversation with their friend might actually mean that he or she is using her smartphone. Traditionally, a girl twirling her hair while talking to a guy; is considered a sign of her showing some interest in him or being attracted towards him. Well, not anymore. This belief of the ‘body-language’ experts is about to get shattered. She might as well be checking out her smartphone, looking at any other app, checking her phonebook, and even her emails or messages.

The new app, based on a technology named Hairware, allows its users to control their smartphone by simply touching their hair. It has been built by Katia Vega from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The users can control their smartphone by activating the sensors that would be hidden in their hair. The app would have many uses and advantages as per Vega. The maker of the app spoke to media about the technology and its uses. Vega has called the app a mixture of magic and the sci-fi gadgets that belong to James Bond.

smartphoneIt has been reported that the innovative technology uses a switch that resembles a hair clip. This switch includes a Bluetooth radio and an Arduino micro-controller. It also has an integrated algorithm that senses and understands when the user intends to activate the app. A person who wishes to use the technology would usually wear hair extensions that look completely natural. These extensions have inbuilt conductive hair filaments that would secretly activate the smartphone app when the user touches them in a specific way. Thus, the new app allows users to control their smartphone merely by touching their hair.

A woman who might be feeling threatened or vulnerable in any situation would be able to use Hairware to inform her close friends and family by broadcasting her precise location to them. Even without so much as picking up her smartphone, she could activate and send a pre-existing emergency text message. The app allows users to enable the voice recorder on the phone to record conversations. However, the new Hairware technology will not be limited to enhancing women’s safety. It would not be targeted only towards women and by giving them the advantage. Vega revealed that the next stage of her project would involve using this new technology to make active app controllers for men’s beards. She said that she is yet to figure out the design of the sensors.

She did inform that the sensors for men could be modified in a way that a clip hidden under the shirt’s collar can be attached to a conductive beard. She concluded that their next goal is to analyze male behavior related to their beard. The app that allows its users to control their smartphone at the simple touch of hair is expected to be a major breakthrough in motion sensors and wearable technology.

By Ankur Sinha

The Economic Times
New Scientist

Photos by:
Tim Bishop-Flickr License
Paul Falardeau-Flickr License

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