By Tessa Berenson
April 17, 2015

Next up in wearable tech: a device that turns your thumb into a miniature wireless trackpad.

MIT researchers are developing a device that could have a host of benefits for users juggling smart phones and regular life. Users could answer the phone while cooking, control their cell phones even when they hands are full or discreetly send a text, according to a press release.

But the researchers aren’t forgetting about style, either. Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, a graduate student in media arts and sciences and lead author on a new paper on the device, said the thumb track pad was inspired by colorful nail decals. To that end, it will come with detachable covers in different colors so users can match their pad with their outfits.

In the end, the benefits of the thumb track pad will be in its size and ease. “It’s very unobtrusive,” Kao said. “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.”

Researchers will present the prototype this weekend in as a conference in Seoul, but it’s unclear when, and if–, it will be available for retailers.

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