By Liam Tung
You can now fairly cheaply create your own smart gold tattoos, thanks to DuoSkin.
Microsoft Research and PhD students at MIT Media Lab have created a series of wearable devices made out of gold-leaf tattoos.
The smart tattoos turn the wearer's skin into a new interface, enabling it to be used as a touchpad to control a mobile device, a display, or with the help of an NFC chip, a wireless communications device.
MIT calls the technology DuoSkin, which it describes in a new paper as a "fabrication process" using gold metal leaf to create functional wearables for the skin.
That process involves creating the desired "skin circuitry" using graphic design software, and then making stencils from it to cut around. The gold leaf acts as the conductive material for whatever electronic device it is attached to.
One of the primary goals of the project was to demystify wearable tech by offering people a simple, cheap, and quick way to produce their own devices.
"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," the MIT students write.