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Issue Date: Vol. 56, No. 8, August 2016, Posted On: 8/16/2016

MIT Researchers Create Interactive Temporary Tattoos

Hank Schlesinger
TAGS: bulk vending, flat vending, MIT Media Lab, temporary tattoo, DuoSkin, skinput

CAMBRIDGE, MA -- A new technology born in the famed MIT Media Lab, with help from Microsoft Research, is taking the temporary tattoo to a new level. DuoSkin is a wearable decorative input/output interface worn on the skin. In essence, the tattoo enables interaction between devices through a technology that has been dubbed "skinput."

In one application, the skin is turned into a trackpad, similar to those found on laptops, that allows users to interact with nearby devices by running a finger over the tattoo. The second function is as an output display in which the tattoo changes color according to external feedback or body temperature. Lastly, the tattoos can be used for communication, similar to existing NFC tags. And combinations of the three functions can be combined in a single design.

The high-tech tats are applied in the same way traditional temporary tattoos are (press and hold, more or less). The Media Lab said they are easily manufactured and provide the potential for a wide variety of wearable electronics that boast esthetic appeal. They can also be augmented with tiny LEDs for greater visual impact. Tech pundits are already touting the potential for DuoSkin tattoos, from use in medical facilities to applications in gaming and out-of-home entertainment.

The MIT Media Lab is an interdisciplinary research laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology devoted to projects at the convergence of technology, multimedia, sciences, art and design.

DuoSkin:Functional, stylish on-skin user interfaces from MIT Media Lab on Vimeo.

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