A Paris research team has developed a phone case that looks and responds like real human skin

Instead of a heavy-duty protective smartphone case, why not get one made from ... human skin?

Late last week, New Scientist published an article about a research team in Paris developing a phone case made from a material that looks suspiciously like human skin and reacts to touches accordingly. 

The project was headed by Marc Teyssier at Telecom ParisTech who stated that the purpose of developing of this artificial, yet hyper-realistic human skin phone case was that he "wanted to pinch [his] phone." Thus, this protective cover was born.

The skin "responds to different gestures that mimic human emotional communication." It understands that tapping likely means that the user is in need of attention, and that stoking or sustained contact means that the users could be seeking or feeling comfort.

Two prototypes of the skin exist: a shockingly realistic-looking one and one that looks like a uniform, squishy foam. Both are made of three layers in between which a stretchable copper wire is placed to track the pressure placed on the material.

In addition to the skin phone case, the team also made a skin computer touch pad and smartwatch strap. Interested people can see the products in the flesh at the ACM Symposium, which takes place in New Orleans, US, this week.

The team's next plans are to integrate hair into the skin, embed temperature features and add a robotic finger that would allow it to crawl across a table. In any case, for those who want to be able to pinch the phone cases like Teyssier, a solution may be right around the corner.