What if smartphones had a robotic limb? Many inventions start with a question that nobody else had ever thought to ask. Few of them end up being quite as creepy as MobiLimb.
Created by Marc Teyssier at the University of Paris-Saclay in France and his colleagues, MobiLimb looks like a mechanical finger, with knuckles that let it bend and beckon. The appendage plugs into the USB port on your smartphone or tablet and can be used as an additional way to interact with your device. …
“My PhD subject is around touch in communications,” explains Marc Teyssier, a researcher at Telecom Paristech engineering school. “When we talk with people in real life we touch each other to communicate emotions, for example a stroke on the arm, or stuff like that. But for mobile devices and interaction in general in computers, we don’t use touch at all. So my starting point was: how can we bring touch in human-computer interfaces?”
So he designed, built and patented the MobiLimb robotic finger, which plugs into a mobile phone and looks very much like a real finger. It can drag the phone across the table. Your friends can activate it and operate it remotely, to give you a comforting pat on the wrist when they talk to you.
Extra credit: Prove that we ourselves are not just advanced versions of similar bots, recreating our ancient ancestors instinctively.