A touch-responsive fabric armband for flexible keyboards and sketchpads

Iontronic Touch Panel for Virtual-Real Handwriting Interaction.


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Touch panels will be essential for the future of human-computer interaction and the metaverse. Stretchable iontronic touch panels have gained popularity due to their stronger bond to the human body; however, this might be uncomfortable for the wearer. 

An iontronic touch panel is applied to handwriting interaction, such as a flexible keyboard and wearable sketchpad. This iontronic touch panel with skin-friendly and wearable qualities is helpful for next-generation wearable interaction electronics.

The increased touch-sensing resolution and deformation insensitivity of an iontronic textile-based touch panel are designed to be skin-friendly and wearable. It overcomes the limitations of the hydrogel-based sticky touch interface and poor mechanical behavior by having superior interfacial hydrophilic and biocompatibility with human skin.

Roll up your sleeves for the next advancement in wearable technology: a cloth wristband that doubles as a touchpad. Researchers report in ACS Nano that they have developed a method to make playing video games, drawing cartoons, and signing documents easier.

Researchers at ACS Nano have created a cloth wristband that converts a person’s forearm into a keyboard or sketchpad. The three-layer, touch-responsive material translates what a user sketches or types into computer pictures. 

Computer trackpads and electronic signature capture devices are frequently used in wearables. However, they are difficult to write on and can irritate the skin.

To produce the fabric electrically conductive, they sandwiched a pressure-sensitive hydrogel between layers of knit silk, and the top portion was coated in graphene nanosheets.

When the sensor panel was connected to electrodes and a data collection system, it formed a pressure-responsive pad with real-time, quick sensing when a finger slid over it, producing numbers and letters. The device was then put into an arm-length silk sleeve with a touch-responsive region on the forearm. 

In experiments, a user used an armband to control the movement of blocks in a computer game and to draw colorful drawings in a computer drawing program. 

According to the researchers, this wearable touch panel proof-of-concept could inspire the next generation of flexible keyboards and wearable sketchpads.

A similar hydrogel was going to be incorporated by Xueji Zhang, Lijun Qu, and Mingwei Tian into a soft fabric sleeve for drawing or playing video games. 

Journal Reference:

  1. Ruidong Xu, Minghua She, etal. Skin-Friendly and Wearable Iontronic Touch Panel for Virtual-Real Handwriting Interaction. ACS Nano DOI:10.1021/acsnano.2c12612