DuoSkin Digital Tattoos: A Taste of the Future?


Sometimes tech advances seem to take forever, and sometimes we seem to be moving forward at an alarming rate. When it comes to tattoos, Duo Skin’s on-skin technology is an example of this.

Researchers in MIT’s Media Lab in collaboration with Microsoft Research, have developed a digital material that you can place on your skin like a tattoo. The invention uses gold metal leaf and users can customize it to control their mobile devices, display information, and even store information on their skin.

The metallic temporary tattoo comes in three classes of devices: the first acts as an input device. You can turn your skin into a track pad, and touch it to do things like adjusting the level of sound on your music player.


The second class offers users the chance to create an output display. With this one, you could have a decorative shape on your skin that changes colour based on your body temperature. You could also have it light up to show your emotions.

The third class and final class allows you to use the tattoo as a communication device. Users can store information in the way an NFC tag does, so you can read data directly off your skin.

This option could have a wide range of uses, such as helping to keep track of Alzheimer patients who wander by storing personal information on them, like their name, address and family contacts, or just serve to help users bring other pertinent information with them, on the go.


The developers of DuoSkin have tried to make the tattoos accessible to anyone. Users can easily make their own, once they get their hands on the right materials and equipment.

You can use any graphic design software on your computer to design the circuit. You can then hook this up to a cheap vinyl cutter, which cuts out the traces on a film, sitting on top of a tattoo paper. Then, layer on the gold leaf, and apply it to your skin as you would a temporary tattoo.

DuoSkin has yet to hit the consumer market, but keep your eyes and ears open.

For more information on DuoSkin, click here.


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