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Researchers in Taiwan developing fingernail displays for mobile devices

If you've ever been frustrated when your fingers obscure the screen on a smartphone or tablet, you'll be happy to learn that researchers in Taiwan are looking for a solution.

Chao-Huai Su and fellow researchers at National Taiwan University in Taipei have developed a prototype display that doesn't get around the "fat finger" problem - it works with it by putting the obscured letter or number on a mobile device screen right on a user's fingertip.

Called NailDisplay, this technology is in the very early stages, according to New Scientist. One day, Su and his colleagues hope to develop a display that actually fits onto a human fingernail - for now, they're experimenting with a "clunky, half-centimeter-thick, 2.5-cm diagonal OLED screen" to get an idea for how a more elegant solution will work someday, the science journal reported.

The goal is to eventually produce a mini-display which uses wirelessly-enabled, light emitting diodes, according to Reuters.

The researchers will be presenting a paper describing their work next month at the Human Factors in Computing Systems conference in Paris. For now, you can see the technology demonstrated in the Reuters video below.

According to New Scientist, the developers of NailDisplay are experimenting with several use cases for the technology in addition to using the fingernail screen to blow up obscured text or numbers on a mobile device.

They're also interested in using it as a screen for devices like music players that don't have a display built in, offering control buttons and even playing video. And the researchers also envision NailDisplay as incorporating gesture-recognition technology so that it "could show content related to the gestures your fingers are making."