Entering the 5G and internet of things (IoT) era, human–machine interfaces (HMIs) capable of providing humans with more intuitive interaction with the digitalized world have experienced a flourishing development in the past few years. Although the advanced sensing techniques based on complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) or microelectromechanical system (MEMS) solutions, e.g., camera, microphone, inertial measurement unit (IMU), etc., and flexible solutions, e.g., stretchable conductor, optical fiber, etc., have been widely utilized as sensing components for wearable/non-wearable HMIs development, the relatively high-power consumption of these sensors remains a concern, especially for wearable/portable scenarios. Recent progress on triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) self-powered sensors provides a new possibility for realizing low-power/self-sustainable HMIs by directly converting biomechanical energies into valuable sensory information. Leveraging the advantages of wide material choices and diversified structural design, TENGs have been successfully developed into various forms of HMIs, including glove, glasses, touchpad, exoskeleton, electronic skin, etc., for sundry applications, e.g., collaborative operation, personal healthcare, robot perception, smart home, etc. With the evolving artificial intelligence (AI) and haptic feedback technologies, more advanced HMIs could be realized towards intelligent and immersive human–machine interactions. Hence, in this review, we systematically introduce the current TENG HMIs in the aspects of different application scenarios, i.e., wearable, robot-related and smart home, and prospective future development enabled by the AI/haptic-feedback technology. Discussion on implementing self-sustainable/zero-power/passive HMIs in this 5G/IoT era and our perspectives are also provided.
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