A SECOND (INTERFACE) SKIN
Would you believe us when we say you can use your skin as a trackpad, but also to turn on the lights and adjust the volume of your music? Or what if tattoos can show information, including your mood and the latest weather forecast? It kinda sounds like a sci-fi movie, doesn’t it? Well not anymore! From sci-fi to the runway: DuoSkin temporary tattoos turn your body into an interface.
Inspired by the current fashion trend of gold and silver temporary tattoos, designer and engineer Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao asked herself: ‘Can these tattoos also conduct electricity, aside from being just a pretty embellishment?’. To discover the truth once and for all she bought some fashion tattoos, and tested whether or not she could make these tats electrifiying. As it turned out, they unfortunately weren’t. Nevertheless, she remained intrigued with the idea and ended up at Microsoft with her fellow Media Lab researchers, developing what they now call DuoSkin.
DuoSkin is a fabrication process that enables anyone to create customized, functional tattoos that can be attached directly on your skin. They basically apply in the same way that kids’ temporary tattoos do. By using gold metal leaf, they managed to create three types of on-skin interfaces: sensing touch input, displaying output, and wireless communication. This basically means you can control your mobile devices, display information and store information directly from your skin. At the same time it also serves as a statement and expression of your personal style, as you can design them in any shape or color.
This product is a great example of our Transhumanity trend, which is all about technology and biology merging. It doesn’t just show a new development in technology, but also how electronics can (already!) be integrated onto our skin. We foresee that this will continue to grow in terms of usability and aesthetic. Because let’s be real, who wouldn’t want to skip reaching out for the remote? ;)