Here at Fashionista, we’ve regularly commented on the developments within the wearable tech sphere. Wearable tech has previously focused on fitness devices and jewellery, but has recently enjoyed an exciting new development, thanks to the smart “DuoSkin” tattoos created by MIT and Microsoft.

These smart tattoos create an interface between a wearer’s device and the wearer’s skin. The tattoos are created using gold leaf material and contain a chip which, together with the gold leaf, creates a circuit. This allows the chip to interact, via Bluetooth signal, with the device. At the moment, MIT and Microsoft are trialling three types of tattoos which will either: let users control their devices (e.g. change music tracks, volume or television channels); change colour or light up depending on the wearer’s body temperature; or allow wearers to use their tattoo to read information from their smart phones.


Source: DuoSkin

This development is particularly exciting as the DuoSkin tattoos are a much cheaper alternative to previous smart tattoos, thus offering the potential for these to be generated on a mass market scale. The use of gold leaf material also means that the tattoos are safe, easy to attach and remove from the skin and robust against skin movements. MIT and Microsoft noted that a further advantage, shown by the DuoSkin tattoos, is their ability to be designed by the wearer. These smart tattoos can be created in any design, and so wearers have the freedom to create their own circuit, which is then printed out and impressed on the individual’s skin. This allows wearers to create and apply smart tattoos, which have been designed by the wearers with a specific personal design and requirement in mind.

Many may proclaim smart tattoos are a short term novelty, whose main role is to merely illustrate the possibilities within the fashion and technology sphere. However, smart tattoos could offer a new avenue of interaction between companies and users, as well as an exciting, non-intrusive way, of monitoring users’ health. Fashionista looks forward to seeing how smart tattoos continue to develop and, in the meantime, hopes to wear a colour changing smart tattoo at her next festival.

By: Emily Dorotheou
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