MIT's Tangible Media Lab is currently working on a type of synthetic cilia that can mimic the way real hair detects vibrations. Cilia are miscroscopic hairs that help humans do everything from hear to eat. Now scientists are trying to replicate these hairs in order to give humans a better physical way to interact with technology.
The synthetic cilia are called 'Cilllia' and they are the brainchild of PhD candidate Jifei Ou. Ou and his peers developed the cilia by creating a new software for modeling hair. This allows researchers to print strands of individual pixels instead of working with a complex 3D model of every single piece of hair. After printing the cilia with an Ember printer, the hairs can be used as super-accurate sensors that translate human gestures into commands processed by computers.
While Ou and his team are still working on the technology, the cilia-like interfaces could soon change the way we interact with technology.
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