MIT’s temporary tattoos turn your skin into a touchpad “Smartphones :: Gadget Hacks


We’re getting closer to the singularity – that point where technology is advancing down the steepest slope of the S-curve logistic function and just soaring at a rate we’ve never seen before. Somewhere along the way, the line between humans and the technology we rely on will become blurred, and MIT’s latest project could very well be a step in that direction.

Believe it or not, researchers have created a stylish and convenient way to control our devices with our own skin, taking wearable clothing to the next level. DuoSkin, as it is called, is the result of a collaboration between Microsoft Research and the MIT Media Lab.

DuoSkin can control your electronic devices in several different ways. There’s a trackpad for interacting with items on a screen, a capacitive touch for navigating menus, and even NFC for launching websites and tasks wirelessly with your smartphone.

DuoSkin trackpad (left) and NFC tag (right). Image via MIT Media Lab

While it may seem like vaporware from the distant future, DuoSkins’ manufacturing process is intentionally cost effective, making it a practical reality even today. Any CAD software can be used to design the circuits, which can then be printed and covered with gold glitter. From there, simply apply DuoSkin as a temporary tattoo, then you’re good to go.

Image via MIT Media Lab

Not only is DuoSkin high-tech, but it can also be quite stylish and trendy, so that people could actually use this laptop in the real world. In addition to simple device interaction, the technology behind DuoSkin can be used in applications that change color based on your temperature, or simply light up with built-in LEDs.

While you see thin wires included in the video above for some of the designs, keep in mind that these are prototypes and wireless is definitely viable given the low amount of power required.

DuoSkin with integrated LED lighting. Image via MIT Media Lab

It’s a handy technology, so there’s a good chance we’ll be able to see it in the wild soon. As far-fetched as it may sound, the line between man and machine has already started to blur.

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Cover image via MIT Media Lab


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