I have big hands. Lumberjack hands. Hands so large they drag along the ground behind me. There are advantages to this. For example, big hands are good if you want to be a goalkeeper or play the piano. They're great for banging the table and waving across a crowded room. But they're a distinct disadvantage when using a mobile phone. That's because keypads on mobile phones are, in the main, very small.

The tiny keypad on my mobile phone makes it fiddly to operate and dramatically increases the chances of me firing off a ncjdsk' text message. Thanks to modern mobile technology, I have become ham fisted.

The research guys at Microsoft have a solution. They're developing technology that increases the size of a keypad by projecting it onto your arm.

Called `Skinput' it brings two technologies together - ultralow-frequency sound detection and microchip-sized projector technology. Worn as an armband, the system beams a keypad onto your arm, hand, or any other body part. The acoustic detector then listens out for the thwack of finger on skin.

With wireless technology like Bluetooth transmitting commands to devices such as phones, iPods and PCs, researchers say you'll be able to scroll through menus, navigate through icons and actuate commands by simply slapping yourself.

Believe me, this is not some April fool. One researcher is quoted as saying: "this is a very feasible approach to using the body itself as an input device."

Whether or not Skinput technology will see the light of day remains uncertain (and I'm told the porn industry is on high alert).

But I think it's great and want it now! My big hands are rubbing together with glee.


John Fountain is senior copywriter at Avvio


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