Developed by scientists at Illinois' Northwestern University and the City University of Hong Kong, the experimental technology incorporates a thin, soft, flexible and slightly-tacky elastomer patch that temporarily adheres to the user's skin.
Embedded within that patch is an array of wirelessly-powered, wirelessly-controlled, disc-shaped electronic actuators. A 15 by 15-cm (5.9-inch) prototype presently contains 32 of these devices, although it is hoped that as the actuators get smaller, it will be possible to pack more of them into a given area.
The idea is that when an epidermal VR patch is activated – such as by a VR game – some of the actuators will vibrate against the wearer's skin, stimulating that person's sense of touch in a specific area. Each of the actuators is designed to resonate most strongly at 200 cycles per second, the frequency at which human skin exhibits maximum sensitivity.