Is the NailO trackpad a mouse replacement?

Not so long ago, students at the MIT Media Laboratory introduced a tiny NailO trackpad that fits on a thumbnail. What’s notable about the new design is that the hands remain free, with the exception of two fingers, and you can control your computer, tablet or phone while continuing to do household chores, such as cooking dinner.

By shape NailO is a flexible decorative sticker on the nail. The top decorative layer can be changed depending on the mood.

The trackpad consists of four layers:

  1. A decorative sticker that allows you to change the appearance of the trackpad.
  2. Matrix of sensory electrodes.
  3. A printed circuit board consisting of a microcontroller ATmega328 (Atmel)touch controller MTCH6102 (Microchip), see the second picture below. Signals are transmitted to a computer or smartphone using Bluetooth– low power chip nRF8001 (Nordic Semiconductors).
  4. Miniature lithium-polymer battery with a capacity of 10 mAh.

The picture below shows all 4 layers and an American 25 cent coin for comparison.

Layers NailO

The circuit board currently in use, with an average power consumption of 4.86 mA, can transmit data wirelessly for at least 2 hours. In the future, the operating time may be increased, for example, by adding a sleep function (when the trackpad is on standby and wakes up only when touched).


Application of the NailO trackpad

Let’s see where the developers see the application of their creation. Firstly, where the ability to control the device with privacy is required, when gesture or voice control is inconvenient or unacceptable. NailO allows you to make hidden gestures or gestures that do not attract attention. For example, during a meeting, you can reject a phone call, mute the ringtone, and so on.

Secondly, such a trackpad does not take up hands. Trackpad Developers NailO created an app for electrical engineers to navigate PCB design while both hands are busy soldering. Without looking up from the soldering process, they can zoom in with a long press and move the circuit around the screen in four directions.

Using NailO when soldering

The developers also presented an application for mobile input, with the help of which swipe NailO You can enter punctuation marks or emoticons.

Using NailO to enter emojis and punctuation marks

Perhaps this trackpad will soon replace the usual computer mouse in most cases. For now, let’s see how NailO will develop. More information and video on the official website NailO here.

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