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Scientists have created a barely noticeable wearable device that is human-machine interface (HMI).
HMI devices are capable of facilitating communication between humans and machines. When worn by a person, these devices automatically scan for health information and enable machines to gather and store data.
The new HMI device, invented by scientists at the University of Houston, is more comfortable to wear than existing ones. Lead scientist Cunjian Yu explained that the device is very thin and flexible, so the wearer can feel free to move naturally as if the device were not there. One patch is stuck to the skin-like tape, while another is attached to a robot that can give feedback.
Compared to the performance of this device, the efficiency of other HMIs goes downhill after some use. Existing ones are also bulky and cannot do several functions at once. The new HMI device, on the other hand, is multifunctional—it can collect and store different health information, monitor physical condition, and detect diseases. This means that the new HMI device can be used to determine a patient’s health condition just by a handshake.
Aside from those, the scientists said that the device can be used as artificial skin on robots. When worn, the robot can collect information in places dangerous to humans and immediately relay information.
Yu and his colleagues developed the HMI device with the aim of improving the form and functionalities of existing ones. Since the device is relatively easy and cheap to make, the scientists said that the new invention might make it easier for others to develop low-cost, high-quality, and comfortable-to-wear HMI devices.