Researchers at MIT have developed some pretty nifty temporary tattoos that double as a fashion statement and as functional technology. The gold leaf designs adhere to your skin like trendy metallic “flash” tattoos, but contain electronic components that allow them to integrate seamlessly with your mobile devices.
The technology is called DuoSkin and there are currently three different types of it. One has touch sensors so you can control your mobile device by swiping around on your skin like a track pad. Another type contains special pigments that change color at different temperatures. The third type contains an NFC (near-field communication) chip that can communicate with your mobile device. This uses the same technology as Apple Pay and Android Pay use when you make purchases with your phone.
The functions of the smart tattoos are pretty basic right now, but it’s a cool example of what can be done with a few simple materials. The idea of being able to do anything on a mobile device just by touching your own skin is kind of crazy, but this may very well be what the future of wearable technology looks like. Once this kind of tech is perfected, there could be tons of potential uses for it some day, whether it’s for actually helpful things or just to look cooler.
A lot of people consider the Apple Watch and other similar devices to be pretty dorky and gaudy looking, but these tattoos offer a much nicer and simpler aesthetic that will likely appeal to a wider audience (especially if they’re cheaper than a $300 watch).