MIT Media Laboratory researchers are developing a miniature wearable that turns the user’s thumbnail into a wireless trackpad. The NailO prototype is being presented next week at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Computer-Human Interaction conference in Seoul, South Korea.

The device is designed to work discreetly, connecting to the thumbnail like a sticker. MIT grad student Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, one of the project’s lead authors, was inspired by cosmetic nail stickers popular in Asia.

Image: MIT Media Lab. Image 1.Image: MIT Media Lab

The thumbnail has many advantages as a site for an input device. It’s a hard surface with no nerve endings so it won’t cause discomfort, and is easily accessible by any finger even when holding something.

"It's very unobtrusive," Kao said in an MIT news release. "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."