Scientists from the MIT Media Lab and Microsoft Research have designed a temporary tattoo that can turn into a touchpad, share data using NFC or remotely control your smartphone. The connected tattoo can take the form of on-skin input element that looks like traditional user interfaces, such as buttons, 2D trackpads, and sliders. This basically means that the tattoo can turn your body into a virtual control knob or trackpad that could adjust, for instance, the volume of your phone. The tattoo has been designed to change color based on temperature and also pull data from the tattoo.
The tattoo has been called the DuoSkin and is believed to be ushering in the new generation of wearable that almost behave like a second skin. DoSkin uses gold metal leaf, cheap material, skin-friendly and robust for everyday wear. Through a process described as ‘fabrication’ process, you can create a customizable functional device that can be attached directly to your skin.
The technology described on the MIT’s website will be presented at a wearable symposium next month. This DuoSkin will simply be applied like any regular tattoo by just sticking it on your skin, using a damp cloth, peeling off the tattoo paper and eventually removing it. It is more like some of the smart patches that consumer and health product goods companies have been experimenting with.
This is not the first time researchers have tried to turn a dumb epidermis into the equivalent of a touchscreen. Back in 2010, collaboration between Microsoft Research and a Carnegie Mellon student came up with a Skinput, which was designed to turn your wrist or back of your hand into a gestural finger input canvas. However, it turned to be expensive and required some gadget that would project an interface onto the skin. Motorola and VivaLnk also had a similar idea about two years ago but was limited primary due to NFC-like communication.
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