You Can Now Use Your Fingernail as a Trackpad

You Can Now Use Your Fingernail as a Trackpad
Photo from MIT Media Lab

Your nails can now be used for purposes other than biting, scratching, and other unimportant things.

A tiny wireless trackpad that can be attached to a mobile user’s fingernail has been developed by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The puny wireless trackpad, which resembles fake nails that women stick on top of the real ones as a fashion accessory, gives users the convenience that trackpads used to give before they were so rudely phased out by the mobile technology market.

The wireless accessory, called NailO, allows users to remotely control their devices while the trackpad is attached to their fingernails. With the use of NailO, mobile phone users can control their gadgets by simply running a finger over the tiny accessory.

According to the people behind NailO:

“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.”

But the use of NailOs isn’t exclusively for mobile gadget users alone. The tiny wireless trackpad can also be used for PCs. The wireless accessory recognizes several gestures that allows users to control their gadgets seamlessly, and includes different functions designed to give its users the convenience that trackpads used to give them.

The research’s lead author, Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, a media arts and sciences grad student at the MIT, said the invention of the tiny wireless trackpad was inspired by the colorful stick-on nails that women in Asia commonly use.

“It’s a cosmetic product, popular in Asian countries.
“When I came here, I was looking for them, but I couldn’t find them, so I’d have my family mail them to me.”

The tiny wireless trackpad was designed in such a way wherein wearers of the mobile accessory can easily personalize its appearance. NailO was built with a surface membrane— which, in a way, functions as the accessory’s skin— that users can remove and replace anytime they please. These surface membranes come in different colors and patterns and wireless trackpad users can change them as often as they want.

“It’s very unobtrusive,” Kao adds..

“When I put this on, it becomes part of my body.
“I have the power to take it off, so it still gives you control over it.
“But it allows this very close connection to your body.”

We wouldn’t recommend this accessory to nail-biters, though.


  • xSentaru says:

    As a fellow nail-biter I have to say I’ll quit being one if this actually become a real thing. I like the concept, seems futuristic. What I don’t really enjoy is their design, maybe because I’m a male…
    If they somewhat change it, make it look more pleasant to my eye, I’ll be sure to take a look in purchasing one of those!

  • Viiri says:

    I want one soon. It looks futuristic and could almost be useful. Like smartwatches and I have one of those too. Looking forward to these.

  • Diane Lane says:

    I like this. I actually use a trackball device on my desktop, still. I’ve never liked to use a mouse, and have always found a trackball or stylus much more convenient. Being female, the design doesn’t bother me, and I like the idea of the different colors. The only questions are, how much, and where can it be purchased.

  • oraclemay says:

    I too would like to know where you can purchase these. I am fascinated by these new advances in technology and would like to try this one out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *