Now your phone can swipe you

It's a phone accessory fit for the creepy Queen St Santa.

Researchers in France have created a robotic finger that can carry out actions like waving, stroking, crawling and - of course - beckoning.

MobiLimb/Marc Teyssier
The MobiLimb. Photo credit: MobiLimb/Marc Teyssier

"In the spirit of human augmentation, which aims at overcoming human body limitations by using robotic devices, our approach aims at overcoming mobile device limitations (static, passive, motionless) by using a robotic limb," Marc Teyssier, one of the MobiLimb's creators, wrote on his website.

"The users can manipulate and deform the robotic device, they can see and feel it - including when its shape is dynamically modified by the mobile device, [and] as a robotic manipulator, it can support additional modular elements (LED, shells, proximity sensors)."

If it's not creepy enough already, there's also a human skin-like glove that puts the MobiLimb right into uncanny valley territory.

It's a phone accessory fit for the creepy Queen St Santa. Photo credit: MobiLimb/Marc Teyssier

"Using a humanlike skin with the phone illustrates changes the perception of the mobile device from an inanimate object to an 'almost' human entity," wrote Mr Teyssier, a PhD student at la Sorbonne and Télécom ParisTech.

When magazine New Scientist shared video of the MobiLimb on Twitter, the response was a mix of horror and lewd jokes.

"If my phone did that, I'd hit it with a broom and bury it with a stake through its heart and a really big rock on top. And even then I'd not sleep soundly," wrote @slrellison.

"This will be terribly misused," said @DJmaroto.

"I would never pick my phone up again if it could tickle me," said @ac00perw.

"There's definitely an unsettling, creepy way in how it moves," tech journalist Dami Lee wrote for The Verge. "Maybe it's the way it drags its lifeless phone-body across the table to let you know you have a new message. Or maybe it's the human flesh cover for the finger that turns it into a dismembered digit?"