In a recent post about biohacking, I wrote about people who have implanted chips into their bodies to benefit their health, simplify their lives, or connect themselves to an external network. Though some have been quick to adopt it, biohacking is still a relatively new and bizarre trend that makes many people wary. The thought of burying chips in our arms is unsettling, and most of us would only do it if it was medically necessary. But for those who are curious yet not quite ready to take the chip-implantation plunge, there’s now another way to join the biohacking party: temporary tattoos.
Created by MIT PhD student Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao in conjunction with Microsoft Research, the Duoskintattoos transfer onto your skin with water, and they can be customized for both aesthetic and functional purposes. Hsin-Liu Kao presented her paper about the tattoos at the International Symposium on Wearable Computers in Heidelberg, Germany last week.
The first step in creating a tattoo is to make a tiny circuit board using graphic design software. A stencil of the circuit is created by applying a layer of vinyl film onto tattoo paper, then gold leaf is layered over the stencil to act as conductive material. The last step is to surface-mount electronics. All tattoos except those with an NFC chip connect to a microcontroller that processes sensor data, supplies power, and links devices through Bluetooth. The total cost of creating a three by four centimeter squared NFC tag is less than $2.50.
In trials, the team tested conductive thread and copper tape as alternatives to gold leaf, but found gold leaf to be the most durable and the most skin-friendly.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald, massimo facchinetti, Biomni