Whenever I was just sitting on my couch or bed watching tv or just plain listening to music, I wanted to be able to do things like skip/repeat songs, change the volume, etc. just by using my body as the medium. It was annoying to have to take out my phone to do this.

What it does

Using your forearm as the "canvas", you can swipe/tap your fingers to adjust volume, skip/pause/play songs, scrub through video, play games like Flappy Bird and 2048, etc.

How we built it

We used an Arduino and IR reflectors mounted onto a cardboard structure for the hardware portion of the hack. It was connected to a bluetooth module which sent the data over serial to the Node.js backend which analyzed the data to determine whether the user was swiping or tapping, what the magnitude of the action was, etc. We used robot.js to control the native actions like toggling music, scrubbing through video, etc.

Challenges we ran into

  • We were originally going to use a 3d printer to create the housing for the wrist device but the printer kept malfunctioning in the middle of a print due to power problems. This meant that the form factor of the hack was much larger than we originally anticipated, even though it still worked.

  • Getting the bluetooth module working correctly with read/write capabilities was harder than expected and required a few hours to resolve.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We managed to create the final product with an acceptable level of usage. The sliding action used for volume control and video scrubbing was very smooth and worked better than anticipated. The tap to toggle various events also worked very well.

What we learned

We learned about building hardware hacks and how to work with serial data.

What's next for Skin Sense

The plan is to make a more compact form factor, perhaps even a commercial version soon. The hardware aspect is actually pretty easy to scale down in size, so if we wanted to, we could create non-commercial versions for consistent personal use in perhaps a weekend of work.

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