I met her for the first time last year, a few weeks before my wedding day.
She was twenty-six and a mother of two, a single mother and a self-employed software developer.
She seemed comfortable enough in our house.
But when we first started talking, she started talking about the silk touch.
She told me she had just been hired to manage a project that involved silk touch, which she said was a revolutionary technology that would allow the world to be more connected.
It’s something I’d never heard of before.
I was a little puzzled.
“Silk touch,” she told me, “is something that I’ve never heard about before, but it’s the next logical step after the touch.”
She went on to explain that it was an advanced, next-generation, non-contact interface.
“You touch the silk,” she said.
“It’s very simple.
The silk touch doesn’t involve touching the surface of the skin.
The surface is completely covered by the silk.
You just touch the material, which is not necessarily skin. “
But when you touch the surface, it doesn’t matter what the surface is.
You just touch the material, which is not necessarily skin.
So, you can put a finger on it and there is no skin.”
Silk touch has been around for over a century.
It was first used in Japan in the mid-nineteenth century, and by the late twentieth century, was adopted by many Western nations.
In the late 1970s, a British doctor named Richard Branson and others made a number of outlandish claims about the technology.
They suggested that it would allow us to move faster and further, to move from places where humans could not travel to places where we could, without losing consciousness.
They said silk touch would help us to read faster and more accurately, to be less stressed and more happy.
But as I learned more about the material—and I have to say, as much as I loved her, I was still skeptical—the more I listened, the more I started to suspect that silk touch is nothing more than a marketing gimmick.
It wasn’t until I began talking to silk touch experts and reading their work that I was convinced.
The technology works.
The devices have a lot of promise.
And they’re relatively inexpensive.
The devices are not entirely reliable.
They’re not entirely waterproof.
And if you use them with other devices, they’re very difficult to tell apart.
The most common complaint about silk touch was that it didn’t work on humans.
“That’s where you come in,” I said.
I had heard some of the criticisms before.
In 2012, a Canadian doctor named Andrew Gillett and others published a study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that showed that silk Touch does not reliably detect contact, either with or without the use of an external device.
In fact, the authors of the study also found that silkTouch had a limited range of motion that required a person to have a very specific position to activate it.
In their paper, they wrote, “Silky Touch is not a ‘touch’ device; it’s not a device that can be used to provide a physical sensation to a user.
It does not stimulate a human body; it does not ‘feel’ anything.”
(In reality, silkTouch doesn’t “feel” anything.
Its vibrations simply vibrate at a particular frequency and have a pattern.)
“The fact that silktouch is a very low-energy device, that it is low-density, that is, it does very little to generate the sensation that people have heard it described as having,” Gilleot wrote, and “its range of vibration is only about one centimeter, not nearly enough to cause a sensation of pain or discomfort.”
And yet, silk touch’s proponents claim that it can be useful, even life-changing, to those who suffer from anxiety, depression, chronic pain, or other mental health conditions.
The problem with silk touch for me, Gilleott wrote, is that “it has been used as a means to enhance interpersonal communication and to enhance a sense of belonging, but its use as a substitute for a real physical contact, or even to be a substitute to touch, has been a very poor success.”
Silk Touch’s creators claim that its benefits outweigh its drawbacks.
“The benefits of silk touch are far greater than the potential problems,” says Richard Dennison, an associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of the 2012 study.
“We do not believe that silk-touch can actually be used as the sole or primary means of interaction between humans, nor that it’s safe or practical for the general population.
But the promise of silk-touched interactions is such that it has to be considered.”
He continued, “The silk touch technology is an extremely promising one and we hope that its use will increase worldwide.”
And for the people who believe silk touch can be good for them, it’s been proven time and