Imprint Text Messages on Flesh with SkinDisplay Concept

A project sponsored by BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion in the UK proposes a bold new use for your battery door. By using piezoelectric technology (which stiffens materials based on electrical current), SkinDisplay is a concept which lets you press your finger into raised text messages on the back of your phone, and read the impression. The idea here is that you could see what’s going on in a discreet way, without pulling out your phone. The actual implementation sounds mostly crazy, but the concept was introduced alongside some software, SmartCall, that actually sounds pretty good; using their app, you would be able to set your current status as busy or otherwise unavailable, as well as request calls back from others within varying time frames and levels of urgency.

The inspiration for both of these ideas is to enable more sensitive communicating over mobile, which is noble indeed given the bad rap BlackBerry gets for continually distracting users from the immediate world around them. BlackBerry in particular is so speedy with delivering text messages that it has set a new level of etiquette when it comes to the time it takes to respond; it’s not uncommon in some circles to be put off if a BBM message isn’t replied to within five minutes. With the right tools though, we might be able to relax a little bit, and put our phone away once in awhile without feeling utterly and completely disconnected. I’m not quite sure the answer is subtle skin-printing, or a biometric ring that senses my mood and shares it online, but they’re both directions to consider. The SmartCall software seems most viable at this point, but depends on everybody using the same app or service; maybe it’ll be a manufacturer’s job to start baking these kinds of etiquette options right into the native messaging and phone applications.

Anyway, here’s a video demonstrating how SkinDisplay could work. Wacky and far-fetched, maybe, but I wouldn’t have concept projects any other way.

[MetropolisMag via Recombu]

  • Anonymous

    Thats it…people are going to text even more in classrooms now….

  • Anonymous

    Utterly pointless.

  • Anonymous

    Utterly pointless.

  • Bob

    This opens the world to full blown exam cheating

  • Neil

    Can’t they think of a good use for this? I’ve wanted to make something like this for a long time but i was thinking of it displaying braille. That way the blind could easily use a smartphone.

    • Thank God you realized that made more sense than what they were doing.

  • Anonymous

    Whoa, no way dude now that is jsut way too cool!

  • anonymous

    Lame.. A brail option would be much more useful.

    • Wmcbrine

      Yes, but then people would have to learn something to use it. God forbid.

      • Like I said, make braille-enable text messaging available for the blind.

  • peter

    How is staring at your thumb different then staring at your phone?

  • Anonymous

    oh god… Now people are going to cheat on tests and text even more in class…

    • Okay, that was gonna happen either way dude, no real way out of it.

  • Anonymous

    oh god… Now people are going to cheat on tests and text even more in class…

  • Anonymous

    so, instead of being rude by looking at your phone, we can look like we did something gross and then stare at our finger and then rub it off?! LOL!! Child Pleez!!


  • Dezzik21

    This is the stupidest idea ever.

    • Not if you tweak it for the visually impaired my nit-picky friend

      • snick

        you talk funny, i like it

      • Jake

        So the visually impaired will be able to “read” texts….how will they reply back? They cant see the keys to type back, and even if those were to be raised in a sort of brail fashion how will they go about navigating their smartphone to even get to where the could reply back.

  • absolutely ridiculous, useless technology. before you know it reading anything will be out the window, we’ll be too damn lazy.

    • You are just a ray of sunshine, aren’t you madam?
      PS: Don’t validated me by answering the clearly rhetorical question, otherwise you’ll just worsen my condition and we don’t want that now, do we? Now if you have any further inclinations to answer a clearly rhetorical question, please read the “PS” section of this statement over again, otherwise you’ll be spouting something with a remarkably similar spelling AND pronunciation, ‘kay? See ya.

  • To-victor

    Then again…This makes texting in class at least 2X easier

  • #iCantEven Child Pleeeeeezzzzzzeeeeeeee!

  • Monkh_dum

    not good idea.
    have to find out other way to improve this idea

  • Hahnkace

    Wait… this is a joke, right?

  • U Hm

    actually like it.~! sounds like a good idea 😀

  • I guess SmartCall is just a formatted way to text someone when to call you, which could come in handy if you really need someone to call you back, but SkinDisplay kind of scares me. What happens to the raised message if you don’t check it in time? What if the message is to small to read? I don’t think I could trust this technology yet.

    • Yeah, they should use it for blind people instead so that they can read text messages in braille and add a scroll feature for long messages and for text online. The whole “raised text thing doesn’t make that much sense otherwise.

      • Anonymous

        Why do you feel the need to keep commenting on this?

      • Anonymous

        Why do you feel the need to keep commenting on this?

      • Guest

        Yeah Caleb whoever you are just shut up no one wants your input anymore. You can make your comment as to what you think of it, just like everyone else. But stop commenting on other peoples’ stuff. If someone thinks it is pointless, let them think so. Go away from this and get a life.

      • Yuyf

        I like the braille idea. But I think the raised text concept is a good start!

  • liz benz

    i think its stupid like what if the message is realyy long seriously

  • Anonymous

    This just seems like a waste of money; I like LOOONG texts. This would never be useful to me, and the whole concept of ‘raised’ text is odd. How will it raise?

  • Anonymous

    this is stupid as shit

  • Chronix95

    not gonna lie …. this is stupid.  its not very discreet if you put your hand in your pocket , take it out, and then pay attention to your finger. You might as well pull your phone out and look at the text message. either way you are not paying attention to the person across from you. 

  • Anon

    Great idea in theory, and the intentions are good, but I know at least three kids at school with a Blackberry, and I’m not even actively looking for them. We already have kids texting in class. If you made it easier for them to get away with it, soon we won’t have nearly as many brilliant minds inventing things like this.

  • Unknown

    Smart call, cool
    raised text thingy, pointles. i mean, what if its in your back pocket and you sit down? THEN GUESS WHO GOT A STAIN?

  • Cute “Mark of the Beast” themes in 3, 2, 1…

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