DuoSkin: MIT´s Interactive Tattoo


DuoSkin’s temporary tattoos turn your body into an interface. Although this tattoo is temporary, it changes people´s impressions of wearable Tech. DuoSkin is an innovation from MIT´s Media Lab and Microsoft research which led wearers use their skin as an interface for computers and mobile devices.

DuoSkin aims to celebrate the personalization of individual style that is often missing in today’s wearable technologies. We designed it as a body-crafting process with which anyone can design, make, and customize their own on-skin interface,
Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, PhD student at MIT Media Lab.


And that´s how DuoSkin works

DuoSkin is a fabrication process that enables anyone to create customized functional tattoos that can be attached directly on their skin, just as kids apply temporary tattoos. It uses gold metal leaf—a material that’s cheap, skin-friendly, and robust for everyday wear. There are three types of on-skin interfaces: sensing touch input, displaying output, and wireless communication.

DuoSkin devices allow users to control their mobile devices, display information, and store information on their skin while serving as a statement of personal style. In essence, DuoSkin’s metallic tattoo process can store and share data with your smartphone or other such device via near-field communication (NFC) technology—that’s for wireless communication.


MIT Duoskin interaction

(c) MIT Media Lab, Jimmy Day

At the same time, DuoSkin’s “touch input” technology enables you to use your skin like a trackpad for activities such as adjusting the volume on your smartphone, turning on lights, or writing text. As well, the tattoo shows information, including your mood and the weather. Plus, we can design them in any color and shape, and they can go anywhere on the body.


When the MIT met the NYFW

The first use-case was a collaboration of the MIT with Fashion Designer Chris Bevans, a former Media Lab Director’s Fellow, who now is the leading artist behind the brand DYNE. He included the technology in his latest collection presented at the New York Fashion Week on January 31st, 2017


DYNE douskin

(c) JC Woodard Photography


The result was not only a great show but also an award at the 2017 South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Innovation Awards just this March 2017, where DuoSkin won the “Sci-Fi No Longer” category for the coolest scientific achievement or discovery that previously was considered possible only in science fiction.

To find out more about DuoSkin take a look at MIT Media Lab.
Cover image credit:  JC Woodard Photography

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