Microsoft, MIT Create 'Smart' Tattoo For Phone Control - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Data Management // IoT
News
8/15/2016
01:05 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Microsoft, MIT Create 'Smart' Tattoo For Phone Control

A team of Microsoft researchers and MIT PhD students have developed a temporary tattoo that doubles as a smartphone touchpad.

7 Cool Data Center Innovations
7 Cool Data Center Innovations
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Microsoft Research and MIT Media Lab PhD students have teamed up to create the next level of wearable: Temporary smart tattoos. This experimental type of smart device can be used to control electronics or send data through NFC.    

The technology is named DuoSkin. In a paper on the topic, MIT describes DuoSkin as a "fabrication process" through which anyone can create a custom-built device that is attached to the skin and functions as a user interface.

These devices, or tattoos, are made of gold metal leaf. The material was chosen because it is inexpensive and skin-friendly. It can also withstand day-to-day wear.

(Image: MIT)

(Image: MIT)

One of the ideas behind this project was to make wearable devices more accessible. Everyday devices have become compact enough to be worn as accessories or attached to the skin. MIT explains how skin-based electronics have added potential because they give direct access to the wearer's biometric data.

However, creating "epidermal electronics" is pricey and requires obscure materials often limited to medical and material sciences. Researchers want to expand on-skin wearables beyond medical devices to accommodate everyday user needs.

Enter DuoSkin, which aims to fulfill everyday users' demand for durable and skin-friendly user interfaces.

DuoSkin is inspired by the look of metallic temporary tattoos that resemble jewelry. It was created with the idea of enabling users to control their mobile devices and display information on their skin while maintaining a flash of style.

"We believe that in the future, on-skin electronics will no longer be black-boxed and mystified," MIT Media Lab researchers wrote in the report. "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 DuoSkin creation process starts with sketching the circuitry using graphic design software. Then comes fabrication, which includes creating stencils of the circuitry and applying gold leaf, which also conducts electricity.

After the tattoo is stamped out, the developer adds more electronic parts to improve its functionality. When complete, the device is applied to skin through water transfer as with a regular temporary tattoo.

[Read: iPhone, iPad sales continue to lag as Apple earnings drop.]

MIT explains how the gold leaf enables three types of interaction with DuoSkin devices: input, output, and communication.

The researchers created on-skin elements similar to user interface components like buttons, sliders, and 2D trackpads so users can enter input in a familiar way. Its 2D touchpad uses row and column scanning with a two-layer design that separates vertical and horizontal lines. These are created separately and overlaid on the skin.

In terms of output, DuoSkin has been designed to change color based on skin temperature. To activate color changes, the researchers built resistive heating elements and placed them underneath the thermochromic layer.

The tattoos also enable wireless data exchange between on-skin interfaces. Designs communicate through NFC, which has tags that contain a chip connecting to a coil created with gold leaf.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
dwilds
50%
50%
dwilds,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/28/2016 | 7:29:30 AM
Assignmento.com | Assignment Services
Great innovation by the Microsoft I am really inspired by this information and post I read this information from Assignmento website and now I read here a full article about the smart tattoo for phone control.
Azathoth
50%
50%
Azathoth,
User Rank: Strategist
8/16/2016 | 9:24:49 AM
Tripods anyone?
http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/davecooper2/drwhobits6/cap01.jpg

Too bad I can't include the pic.

Also, I have a question, can they add RFID tech to these things?
Susan Fourtané
50%
50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
8/15/2016 | 1:40:14 PM
DuoSkin
I find the DuoSkin research and concept interesting. However, I don't see myself applying a DuoSkin tattoo on my skin because I don't like tattoos. I think it's smart that the DioSkin tattoos are temporary. That lets the door open to the possibility of removing it if for some reason it doesn't work for you in the way you thought it would. 

I had read about the DuoSkin tattoos some days ago and watched this video which shows how it would look and the possible designs.

-Susan 

 
2018 State of the Cloud
2018 State of the Cloud
Cloud adoption is growing, but how are organizations taking advantage of it? Interop ITX and InformationWeek surveyed technology decision-makers to find out, read this report to discover what they had to say!
News
A Data-Centric Approach to the US Census
James M. Connolly, Executive Managing Editor, InformationWeekEditor in Chief,  10/12/2018
News
10 Top Strategic Predictions for 2019
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  10/17/2018
Commentary
AI & Machine Learning: An Enterprise Guide
James M. Connolly, Executive Managing Editor, InformationWeekEditor in Chief,  9/27/2018
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
The Next Generation of IT Support
The workforce is changing as businesses become global and technology erodes geographical and physical barriers.IT organizations are critical to enabling this transition and can utilize next-generation tools and strategies to provide world-class support regardless of location, platform or device
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll