MIT's NailO puts a tiny trackpad on your fingernail

MIT has a new invention that, upon first glance, looks like a poorly positioned fake thumbnail. The reason is that it is tiny trackpad designed to be mounted on your fingernail, lending perhaps the best yet remote control of your tablet or smartphone. It's one of the more innovative and unusual wearables we've seen in recent months, and though it is odd to behold at first, there are some valid uses for it. Those with certain disabilities might find it convenient, for example, as well as those who want covert control of their phone.

NailO is the brainchild of MIT Media Lab researchers, and it could prove convenient in a world where so many of our tasks are digital. One given example is a chef who is using a tablet to show a recipe — with one's hands full or covered with food, it would be easier to swipe across your thumb nail to scroll the recipe rather than touching the device's display.

The researchers plan to present a paper on NailO next week in South Korea, but in the meantime they've demonstrated its usage in the video you see above. It works wirelessly in conjunction with a smartphone or similar device, and it is said to have been inspired by the fancy nail stickers some wear on their fingernails.

If a commercial version were to be made, it could possibly include a swappable outside surface allowing the design to be changed. As for the technology itself, it includes capacitive sensing for detecting the user's swiping and tapping. Despite its small size, the trackpad includes three chips, a battery, and some sensors.