Let's be honest, traditional handheld controllers and game pads are so passé. Sure, the occassional forway into futuristic alternatives have resulted in less than favourable results - the motion detection of the Kinect on Xbox 360 and Xbox One being one such failure - but that doesn't mean the evolution of the joypad has been entrenced in the past.
Just take a look at this soft and stretch material that can be wrapped around your wrist and used a touch panel. The amazing bit of tech, which is still very much in the developmental and research stage, is made of something known as hydrogel, a network of hydrophilic polymers that are soft and very stretchable.
The word 'hydro' isn't there for fun either - the touch panel uses a special polyacrylamide hydrogel containing lithium chloride salts, which act as a conductor and help retain water in the hydrogel. Since water is such a brilliant conductor, the placement of electrodes at either send of the touch panel create a closed circuit that enables currents to travel across the panel.
The team even built a bespoke controller board to help the iconic touch panel communicate with a variety of software, including drawing stick men in a design program and even having a game of Angry Birds to pass the time.
The touchpad was still able to operate when it was stretched to more than 1000% of its normal area, meaning its applications could be endless if the technology ever manages to make it out of the experimental stage. Check out the videos on the Phys.org page below and see the panel used to play a tune on a piano simulator, among other things.
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