It's only a prototype right now, but a group of engineers at the National Taiwan University in Taipei think that using fingernail-mounted OLED screens could solve a number of UI problems plaguing today's gadgets. For instance, if a person is typing on a touchscreen smartphone, the NailDisplay could show what virtual key your thumb is on (and obscuring), essentially making your typing experience a "transparent" one. Other uses could involve adding a display to gadgets without one (ex: iPod shuffle or USB drive) and air gesture input (similar to Minority Report).
The display itself is a 0.96-inch OLED screen with a 96 x 64 resolution and each pixel is capable of 65 thousand colors. The onboard accelerometer and vibrator are controlled by Arduino ATmega32U4 microprocessor.
Based on test feedback, the team says the NailDisplay could also be used to provide notification alerts or double as an instant translator while reading books. But the craziest NailDisplay application could also be its best: a finger phone.
"Additionally, with a microphone on the pinky ﬁnger and a speaker on a thumb, users can directly talk to the caller via ﬁnger devices after answering the phone using NailDisplay."
The engineers plan to debut their prototype NailDisplay at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Paris in April.