NailO: Fingernails as an Input Surface

NailO is a wearable input device in the form of a commercialized nail art sticker. It works as a miniaturized trackpad the size and thickness of a fingernail that can connect to your mobile devices; it also enables wearers to customize the device to fit the wearer’s personal style. NailO allows wearers to perform different functions on a phone or PC with different gestures, and the wearer can easily alter its appearance with a nail art design layer, creating a combination of functionality and aesthetics.

From the fashion-conscious, to techies, and anyone in between, NailO can make a style, art, or a design statement; but in its more neutral, natural-looking example it can be worn and used only for its functionality. As a nail art sticker, NailO is small, discreet, and removable. Interactions through NailO can be private and subtle, for example attracting minimal attention when you are in a meeting but need to reply to an urgent text message. Mimicking the form of a cosmetic extension, NailO blends into and decorates one’s body when attached, yet remains removable at the wearer’s discretion, giving the wearer power and control over the level of intimacy of the device to one’s body.

Kao, H.-L. C., Dementyev, A., Paradiso, J., Schmandt, C., “NailO: Fingernails as an Input Surface”, ACM CHI 2015 [DOI] [PDF] (Best Paper Honorable Mention)


Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, MIT Media Lab
Artem Dementyev, MIT Media Lab,
Joe Paradiso, MIT Meda Lab
Chris Schmandt, MIT Media Lab

Special thanks:
We thank Skyler Kropper for modeling photos, Nan-Wei Gong for hardware prototyping support, Pip Mothersill for writing advice, Joi Ito, bunnie Huang and Jie Qi for Shenzhen manufacturing support.