Microsoft Research working on the ultimate wearable: a tattoo to control devices remotely

Technology is evolving day by day; researchers are working to make your phone's battery last forever, developing chip architectures to allow multi-core phones and PCs to run up to 18 times faster, and are even promising a future where Pokémon GO is much more believable.

Now, PhD students from the MIT Media Lab, in collaboration with Microsoft Research, are working to develop a temporary skin tattoo that can allow users to interact with connected interfaces, remotely control a smartphone, act as a touchpad, and even share data via NFC.

The technology has been dubbed as "DuoSkin", and is described as follows:

DuoSkin is a fabrication process that enables anyone to create customized functional devices that can be attached directly on their skin. Using gold metal leaf, a material that is cheap, skin-friendly, and robust for everyday wear, we demonstrate three types of on-skin interfaces: sensing touch input, displaying output, and wireless communication.

DuoSkin draws from the aesthetics found in metallic jewelry-like temporary tattoos to create on-skin devices which resemble jewelry. DuoSkin devices enable users to control their mobile devices, display information, and store information on their skin while serving as a statement of personal style.

We believe that in the future, on-skin electronics will no longer be black-boxed and mystified; instead, they will converge towards the user friendliness, extensibility, and aesthetics of body decorations, forming a DuoSkin integrated to the extent that it has seemingly disappeared.

The researchers involved are endeavoring to have at least three classes of on-skin interfaces, namely input, output and communication. Their work, if successful, will allow users to interact with DuoSkin using buttons, sliders and 2D trackpads. The technology, in return, also has the ability to output soft colored displays on the skin. In addition, MIT has also noted that DuoSkin can make devices interact using NFC, in order to share data between connected gadgets.

It is important to remember that back in 2010, a Carnegie Mellon student also designed a similar gesture-based interface that could be utilized on the wrist or the back of the hand. The project named as "Skinput" was aided by Microsoft Research as well, but it turned out to be economically infeasible.

Source and image: MIT via The Verge

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