Don’t worry you won’t need to look like a sailor with a blurred out anchor in forty years; rather, this temporary tattoo developed by the MIT Media Lab in conjunction with Microsoft Research called DuoSkin is removable and will also allow you to to control your computer, tablet or smartphone using NFC.

MIT Tattoo DuoSkin
Image source: Vimeo Video Screenshot

Smart tattoo that almost resembles jewelry

Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, a PhD Student at the MIT Media Lab, and her team at DuoSkin noting the popularity of temporary tattoos that resemble jewelry and can by swapped out to match your outfit was the teams thinking behind their new “remote.”

The difference between theirs and those popular in Asia is the fact that the DuoSkin has hidden functions. Using goldleaf for basic conductivity and economy  (goldleaf) is cheap enough to decorate your next birthday cake, along with other even cheaper materials the researchers knew they had something. Using temporary tattoo paper, the team then used desktop publishing software to design the tattoo they wanted and put it through a vinyl cutter. After, they layered the goldleaf atop the vinyl cut-out and applied to a willing arm. From there NFC chips were applied to the gold leaf and the connection was complete.

Once connected they were able to make the tattoo turn into  touchpad inputs, display outputs, and capable of wireless communications.

“These tattoos allow anyone to create interfaces directly on their skin,” says Kao in the video they put together to show their work.  “The materials we use enable it to be aesthetic and to reflect a metallic look.”

With the “device” you could essentially carry a concert ticket or movie ticket on your skin by downloading them via NFC. If used as a trackpad or controller you could use your tattoo to control the music on your smartphone.

Additionally the tattoo, could have LED’s embedded to make your tattoo dance along with you the next time you’re out clubbing.

Minus the vinyl cutter this is a pretty simple DIY project for those that want to be both connected and fashionable when next in the mood to show off your new ‘Jewelry.’