A fabric armband that doubles as a touch pad is the next step forward in wearable technology. It’s time to put on your sleeves. In ACS Nano, researchers claim to have developed a method that makes it simpler to play video games, draw cartoons, and sign documents. The silk armband they use as a proof-of-concept transforms a person’s forearm into a keyboard or sketchpad. The three-layered, touch-responsive material converts what a user writes or draws into computer-readable images.

Although electronic signature-capture devices and computer trackpads appear to be everywhere, their use in wearables is less common. Clear, electrically conductive hydrogels have been proposed by researchers as a method for creating flexible touch-responsive panels; however, these substances are sticky, making it difficult to write on them and causing irritation to the skin. As a result, Xueji Zhang, Lijun Qu, and Mingwei Tian wanted to incorporate a similar hydrogel into a soft fabric sleeve for computer games and drawing.

The specialists sandwiched a strain touchy hydrogel between layers of weave silk. To make the fabric electrically conductive, graphene nanosheets were applied to the top piece. A pressure-responsive pad with real-time, rapid sensing when a finger was slid over it to write numbers and letters was created by attaching the sensing panel to electrodes and a data collection system. The device was then incorporated into a silk sleeve that extended to the arm and featured a touch-sensitive forearm area. In tests, a client controlled the bearing of blocks in a PC game and outlined beautiful kid’s shows in a PC drawing program from the armband. The specialists say that their evidence of-idea wearable touch board could move the up and coming age of adaptable consoles and wearable sketchpads.