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There’s now a tattoo that can control your phone

Scientists at MIT and Microsoft presented an on-skin interface that allows users to share data, control electronic devices and become a human trackpad

Scientists have created a “smart tattoo”, which could turn a recipient into a walking piece of interactive technology.

PhD students at MIT and Microsoft Research scientists have collaborated to make DuoSkin, a temporary metallic tattoo that allows a user to share data and control their smartphone or other devices remotely by touching their skin.

Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, a PhD Student at the MIT Media Lab, details how the project responds to the “huge culture” that surrounds tattoos, adding functionality to fashion, reports The Verge. “You can very easily change and edit your appearance whenever you want,” she said in the video, bringing that to the next level with DuoSkin. The aesthetic draws directly from popular “metallic, jewellery-like temporary tattoos” for the on-skin device.

According to their website, DuoSkin offers three types of on-skin interfaces: “sensing touch input, displaying output, and wireless communication”. It uses gold leaf, a metal, to produce conductivity, changing colour along with your body temperature to display output. They can also be embedded with LEDS for a light effect.

“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”.

The project hopes to make on-skin electronics cool and accessible – Kao states in the video they hope to see it work in tattoo studios – and it’s debuting at a wearables convention later next month.