A video released by team members shows them using it to control a handset by pinching, squeezing and prodding it to zoom in or out, and carry out other functions.
"We are not used to human touch on objects. This project has made people reflect on what technology is and why this is creepy."
Tickling the skin on the back of the phone could release a laughing emoji in a message, for example, while a pinch could result in an expression of anger. The materials are mass-produced and each unit would cost less than £5 to build, he estimated.
The team also adapted it to fit other portable electronics, such as a smart watch, companion robot, and laptop launchpad.
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