A Temporary Tattoo that Controls your Smartphone? MIT and Microsoft Research Unveil DuoSkin

Imagine if you could control your smartphone by using your skin as an interface device! That’s exactly what MIT and Microsoft Research – the software giant’s think-tank – have come up with. It’s called DuoSkin and it’s as easy as applying a press-on temporary tattoo on your arm.



Reported by The Verge, the gold leaf-based tattoo is designed to not only take input from the user’s touch just like a trackpad or touchpad, but can actually allow you to remotely control your smartphone and even do near field communication (NFC) transactions.


Source: MIT

Picture a world where people don’t even see your smartphone when you’re using it. You can make calls without having to touch your phone, and someday you might even be able to pay for your groceries using NFC that you control through your skin. Imagine the look on the cashier’s face when you wave your arm over the payment terminal and it says “payment approved”!

The applications of this technology are virtually limitless. The tattoo itself is very simple to apply, and consists of a base that uses gold leaf, gold being a conductor of electricity. Overlay that with other materials and you can achieve the interactive functionality I spoke about.

Though this seems like something out of a Spielberg movie, the tech isn’t that new. Six years ago Microsoft Research teamed up with a student from Carnegie Mellon and created Skinput, which is essentially the same thing using a slightly different technology. Skinput boasted the ability to be a “gestural finger input canvas.”

The DuoSkin is very similar, but it costs a lot less and is therefore more viable for the general market. The tattoo itself is temporary and will wear off in a couple of days, but one “fix” should be enough to let you control your smartphone for the whole day.

Think of the applications this could lead to, and you’ll realize that this type of “skinterface” could be the next generation of wearable technology.

Forget the bulky (but impressive-looking) Apple Watch 2 that’s coming out this year. I want a DuoSkin!