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Electronic Skin Lights Up When Touched

Imagine an interactive dashboard or wallpaper inspired by the body’s largest organ

2 min read
Electronic Skin Lights Up When Touched
Supple Skin: Built on plastic the new electronic skin contains arrays of pressure sensors, thin-film transistors, and organic LEDs.
Photo: Ali Javey and Chuan Wang

A team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, has developed the first user-interactive “electronic skin” that responds to pressure by instantly emitting light.

“The goal is to use human skin as a model and develop new types of electronics that would enable us to interface with our environment in new ways,” explains Ali Javey, an electrical engineering and computer science professor at Berkeley and leader of the e-skin research team.

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Are You Ready for Workplace Brain Scanning?

Extracting and using brain data will make workers happier and more productive, backers say

11 min read
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A photo collage showing a man wearing a eeg headset while looking at a computer screen.
Nadia Radic
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Get ready: Neurotechnology is coming to the workplace. Neural sensors are now reliable and affordable enough to support commercial pilot projects that extract productivity-enhancing data from workers’ brains. These projects aren’t confined to specialized workplaces; they’re also happening in offices, factories, farms, and airports. The companies and people behind these neurotech devices are certain that they will improve our lives. But there are serious questions about whether work should be organized around certain functions of the brain, rather than the person as a whole.

To be clear, the kind of neurotech that’s currently available is nowhere close to reading minds. Sensors detect electrical activity across different areas of the brain, and the patterns in that activity can be broadly correlated with different feelings or physiological responses, such as stress, focus, or a reaction to external stimuli. These data can be exploited to make workers more efficient—and, proponents of the technology say, to make them happier. Two of the most interesting innovators in this field are the Israel-based startup InnerEye, which aims to give workers superhuman abilities, and Emotiv, a Silicon Valley neurotech company that’s bringing a brain-tracking wearable to office workers, including those working remotely.

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