DuoSkin Lets You Interact With Computers Via Temporary Tattoos

The future of human interaction with technology was usually imagined as having tiny chips under your skin, allowing you to interact with devices around you. No matter if said device is you PC, bank or security terminal, we always imagined that we’d have to let chips get implanted under our skin in order for the interaction to be possible. Later, smartphones enabled some ways to communicate with technology, but chips were always somehow left as a possibility.

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If we think a bit about it, they’re cheap to manufacture, easy for insertion, and can be made out of non-toxic materials. But, what if a solution for human-machine interaction could be much, much, simpler? What if, instead chips, we just make a temporary tattoo, on our wrist, for example, a tattoo that could support all features of a chip?

MIT Media Lab, in cooperation with Microsoft Research, made DuoSkin, basically, a temporary tattoo made out of gold metal leafs, allowing the person wearing it communicate with various devices. The project started after students saw the growing trend of metallic temporary tattoos, and realized that they could make one that could also be used in a variety of ways.

Gold metal leaf, the material out of which DuoSkin is made has three important merits; it’s cheap to make, is skin friendly and has basic conductivity level. This allows for a cheap and simple manufacturing; DuoSkin is made by combining gold metal leafs with a vinyl cutter, LEDs, or a temporary tattoo paper. Once manufactured and ready for usage, it can be used in three ways – as an input device, an output device, and for communication.

For instance, you can use DuoSkin as a trackpad, eliminating the need for a mouse, or even as a keyboard (although DuoSkin still needs to be developed until needed precision is accomplished). You can use it as a display, when combining it with LEDs, showing images of your body, with colors changing along with the body temperature. This could be sued as a great way of monitoring patient’s temperature, or for tattoos that change as you get warmer, or colder.

The final usage scenario is using DuoSkin as a communication device. Basically, you can imprint necessary info into the material and later use it instead security cards, driver licenses, or personal IDs.

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Of course, things stated above are just some of the potential usages DuoSkin could offer. The technology is still in development but if all goes to plan, soon we’ll be able to control our computers with our skin, could have tattoos that change based on our body temperature, could even make 24/7 thermometers, ideal for clinics and hospitals, especially for emergency wards. Or for instance, we could never lose the remote again, since it will be on our skin! A perfect solution to one of the biggest first world problems.

DuoSkin could also replace devices like smart bands, or smartwatches (maybe even regular watches), showing how the technology of today is in rapid expansion. Smartwatches didn’t even make a mass market breakthrough and they could already be replaced with something much cheaper and far more attractive.

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