Tattoos are increasingly popular for those who want to stand out or just want to express themselves.
But what if a tattoo could also serve as a controller for a smartphone app or other electronic devices? What if these tattoos were only temporary?
This is exactly the technology that scientists at MIT and Microsoft Research are apparently preparing, according to Mashable.
Made from materials like gold foil and LEDs, these temporary tattoos look more like jewels embedded in your skin than those cheap washable tattoos of the past.
In a paper to be presented at the annual International Laptop Symposium in September in Heidelberg, Germany, the scientists behind the technology outline practical uses for these temporary tattoos.
First, these tattoos could be used as an input device to control something like a smartphone app by connecting to a small Arduino computer coupled to the app. By simply swiping over her tattoo, the user could control things through the app, such as scrolling or browsing through songs in a playlist.
The tattoo could also be used as an output device allowing the tattoo itself to function as a screen that could, for example, be paired with a user’s body temperature to glow warmer when it’s warmer and cooler when it’s warmer. ‘he is cold.
And finally, tattoos could serve as a communication device that uses near-field communication to send data to other devices as simply as tapping a smartphone on their tattoo.
“In the future, when you walk into a tattoo parlor, you’ll walk out with a tattoo like this,” Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, a doctoral student who worked on the tattoo project, told Mashable. “They will not only be very technically sophisticated, but they will become an extension of yourself.”