Video: Accessorize your smartphone with a robotic finger | The American Ceramic Society

Video: Accessorize your smartphone with a robotic finger


[Image above] Credit: Marc Teyssier, YouTube


Remember the excitement of being able to access the world from the palm of your hand when smartphones were invented?

But after the smartphone novelty wore off, we turned to accessorizing them with aftermarket products. From the OtterBox to stick-on wallets, tripod holders to selfie sticks, we decked out our phones to add more functionality to them.

So have you ever thought about adding a robotic finger to your mobile device? Well, someone actually did think about that—and just in time for Halloween, as it appears to be slightly creepy.

MobiLimb, a creation of Telecom ParisTech Ph.D. student Marc Teyssier, is a finger-like device that attaches to a smartphone or tablet. It uses a small 5 DoF serial robotic manipulator to perform a number of functions. Teyssier’s website states that it helps overcome human body limitations—specifically to “overcome mobile device limitations (static, passive, motionless) by using a robotic limb.”

The device contains four main components: Actuators, sensors, embedded electronics, and a microcontroller. And because MobiLimb just screams to be accessorized, there are two skins available: a fur skin that looks like a cat’s tail and a lifelike finger, significantly adding to the creep factor.

The video shows MobiLimb moving the smartphone forward, responding to emojis, massaging the user’s hand, acting as a kickstand and grip, touching the screen, and responding to notifications by shaking.

Although there could be a number of uses for MobiLimb, the only purpose I can think of at the moment is impressing (or scaring) your friends. However, on a serious note, it’s easy to imagine how these devices could be useful adaptations for people with mobility, dexterity, or visual challenges. It will be interesting to see how the community reacts to the possibilities.

The paper, which Teyssier will present at the User Interface Software and Technology Symposium next week, is “MobiLimb: Augmenting Mobile Devices with a Robotic Limb.”

MobiLimb is not yet on the market, so you’ll have plenty of time to decide if you need one of these.

Watch the video below to see MobiLimb in action.

Credit: Marc Teyssier, YouTube