Students at MIT Media Lab have paired up with the team from Microsoft Research to develop a temporary ‘smart’ tattoo - which can be used as a touchpad to control your smartphone, or even share data using NFC.
Called DuoSkin, MIT plans to present this technology in full at a wearables symposium next month.
Interactive tattoos? How the hell does this work!?
Well, DuoSkin works by using gold leaf - which is conductive to electricity - to create said tattoo. This means circuits can be made using any graphic software and printed onto the body (hopefully not with a robotic tattoo arm).
With this gold leaf circuit, users can then apply other components and materials to make an interactive tattoo.
Sounds cool! What would I use it for, though?
It’s a common problem with flashy work like this. It looks great, but what real-life uses would there be? The team have thought about this, and their paper presents three key use cases:
- Turn your skin into a trackpad - control your phone or (indeed) any piece of hardware with just a few swipes on your skin.
- Change colour based on temperature - This one would be more of a visual trick, but it would be cool to transform your arm into an interactive thermometer.
- Pull data from the tattoo - Imagine having your full medical records tattooed onto your skin, so if emergency services are needed they could just scan you to see blood type/medicine allergies/etc. Pretty cool, right?
Awesome! When can I get it?
Don’t hold your breath for too long… It’s going to be a while I’m afraid.
Research like this usually takes five years tops to get into the hands of consumers.
Now in terms of cost and technological capability, researchers are pretty much already there with it! Working just like a temporary tattoo: Just stick it on your skin and go.
But if this is where people are thinking the future of wearables is going - it’s a lot easier on the eye than the garish smartwatches of today. Have a scroll through some of their weird and wonderful creations below!
I get it. We’re all scared in the wake of the tragedy in Westminster last Wednesday. Khalid Masood’s actions in committing this atrocity are truly reprehensible. But digital communication is not at fault, and adding an Orwellian level of surveillance is not the answer.
Broadband problems? Under new Ofcom proposals, you will no longer have to “fight tooth and nail” for the “fair compensation” you are owed. If approved, Internet Service Providers will automatically have to pay customers for bad broadband, delayed repairs and missed engineer appointments.
A car that rises up to drive over traffic… Sounds like a dream, right? Well, it is I’m afraid. While the Hum Rider is a real car, it’s simply a marketing stunt for Verizon.
Sex toys have taken another step forward with the Flashlight Launch - a masturbation machine that takes all the manual arm work out of reaching climax.
Snapchat story clones are cropping up everywhere in Facebook-owned apps and it’s not necessary. Would you ever want to post the same story across four different platforms? Or course not.
What is the future of wearables? I went to The Wearable Technology Show and found out - writing for BBC Science Focus magazine.
Forget everything you knew about smart homes and the Legend of Zelda… One particular fan has managed to create a home automation system that is controlled by playing the Ocarina.
Following the instant success of Pokémon GO in summer 2016, rumours began that developer Niantic was working on another game – simply named Harry Potter GO. This is fake news, so please stop sharing it.
A team of researchers have done something incredible yet terrifying - using sound waves to hack a smartphone, using a method that could be used to theoretically control any technology with an accelerometer.
I get it - the headline sounds terrifying. But Switzerland’s EPFL has just invented a medical masterpiece that could help to reinvent robotic healthcare. These gelatinous machines could soon be crawling around your insides and performing operations.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.