It sounds like an April Fools’ Day joke, except, well, it isn’t. You can now use your smartphone by playing with your hair.
Yes, indeed, you read that correctly – your handheld device can be controlled by manipulating your locks.
Katia Vega, founder of Beauty Technology – which is described as being an “emerging field in wearable computing that hides components within beauty products – has made this possible.
Through tech known as Hairwave, you can “connect” your hair to your smartphone. Basically, hi-tech hair extensions are added to your natural hair – so it looks normal – and through various gestures, you can play with your device.
“Hairware acts as a capacitive touch sensor that detects touch variations on hair and uses machine learning algorithms in order to recognise user’s intention,” she explains on her website.
“Artificial hair extensions were chemically metalised for acquiring electrical conductivity and also keeping a natural coloration. We added layers of non- conductive hair extensions that are added for isolating the hair from the skin.
“Also, these layers improved the capacitor sensor values. Each time the user touch the top, middle or tip, the capacitor sensor differentiates these values.”
So, for example, a twist of the hair could let someone send a text message or by stroking your hair, your camera could be activated.
While it sounds like a bit of a gimmick, there is a very serious side to this, says Ms Vega. For example, if someone is in a tricky situation, they would be able to “secretly” send a message.
This could either reveal their destination or correspond to a statement that had already been programmed.
It is principally aimed at women, although it can be used by either gender. However, Ms Vega is working on similar prototypes that will allow men to use their smartphone through the manipulation of their beard.