MIT and Microsoft’s DuoSkin gold tattoos lets users control their tech


How would your world change if you were able to tattoo an interface device, for use with a smartphone or a computer or an augmented reality device like the Hololens, on your body? That’s a question that DuoSkin, a gold leaf temporary tattoo that can also act like a controller for various tech items, asks.

The creation of MIT and Microsoft Research (two places that historically have come up with some interesting stuff), DuoSkin looks like the kind of body art that we’re used to seeing in cyberpunk and science fiction artwork. That design choice may be intentional but having a practical purpose for these body mods other than ‘it looked good’? We’ll be having some of that, just as soon as its more wide-spread.

Which might not be far off. MIT Media Lab has demonstrated that these tattoos, which can be designed, printed, layers in gold leaf and then applied to the skin the same way that other temp tattoos work, have a range of functions. They can be used as a slider or a trackpad, a feature that we’d jump on if we ever made a switch to wearing augmented reality gear full-time. They can also be made purely decorative, with pattern alterations taking place based on body temperature, and data can be embedded in them as well. That one we’re less sold on — we can’t imagine touching our phones to a salesperson to read an NFC tag and not feeling like a bit of a weirdo.

A very practical demonstration of the technology takes place at the very end of the video (above), with the credits for the video being displayed on a smartphone screen. The sections of text are changed by swiping at an arm-based DuoSkin interface. We can see this becoming very useful in the next few years…

So… about all those other science-fiction interfaces we never thought we’d see…?

Source: MIT


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