It’s estimated that roughly 40% of adults between the ages of 26 and 40 have at least one tattoo. They offer a meaningful form of self-expression, with individuals often choosing designs that are relevant to something in their life. But what if you could control your smartphone by using your tattoo as a touchscreen interface? It may sound like something out of a science fiction movie, but that’s exactly what researchers at MIT are hoping to achieve.
Dubbed “Duoskin,” this isn’t your ordinary temporary tattoo. While it looks like just like a regular, temporary tattoo, it functions as a touchscreen interface. Researchers from MIT’s Media Lab developed the technology so users can control compatible devices straight from their skin.
Smartwatches have become increasingly popular in recent years, but DuoSkin brings an entirely new meaning to the phrase “wearable electronic.” It features a gold leaf material that’s used to create a temporary tattoo on the user’s skin. As explained by the project’s team, these tattoos resemble elements that are commonly found on user interfaces, such as sliders, buttons and 2D trackpads, the latter of which features row-column scanning in a multi-layered design that essentially separates the horizontal traces from the vertical traces.
The general idea is that users can control their smartphones, tablets and other devices by using the DuoSkin as a touchscreen interface. Users could tap or swipe sections of the gold leaf tattoo to perform various actions on their connected device. It may sound more like a novelty, but this technology could pave the way for future ideas.
So, how exactly does the DuoSkin temporary tattoo communicate with its connected device? It leverages the power of near-field communications (NFC), featuring a chip that’s connected directly to a special coil. The DuoLeaf’s coil is also made of gold lead materials, and is available in a variety of different shapes and size.
“DuoSkin is a fabrication process that enables anyone to create customized functional devices that can be attached directly on their skin. Using gold metal leaf, a material that is cheap, skin-friendly, and robust for everyday wear, we demonstrate three types of on-skin interfaces: sensing touch input, displaying output, and wireless communication. DuoSkin draws from the aesthetics found in metallic jewelry-like temporary tattoos to create on-skin devices which resemble jewelry,” explained the group.
What do you think of DuoSkin?