Pinch, bend and tie cables to control your electronics with 'Cord UI'

Cord UI Pinchable headphone cable

The cables in your life may just be for transferring power and data right now. But The Tangible Media Group at MIT's Media Lab are looking to change that with 'Cord UI,' allowing you to control all of your devices by tangling, twisting, pinching and pulling their attached wires.

From trying (and failing) to master the 'triple tap' on your earphones to skip back a track, to looking for a light switch at night. Sometimes the idea of controls don't necessarily prove useful. Through this new concept though, you can use the connected cord as an input device, and all you have to do is imagine the cable as a water hose.

The developers have taken strong inspiration from this metaphor. For example, place a bull clip on a laptop cord and the power will stop flowing, putting the computer to sleep. Kink a USB hard drive cable and the data is cut off, allowing you to safely remove it. Pinch your headphone wire to temporarily pause the music. The options are endless.

To make this work, the team are using piezo copolymer cables connected to a built-in micro-controller, so you can get that level of control and sensitivity. This does lead to some rather chunky wires, but Cord UI makes for an exciting premise.