These types of tattoos are fully customizable, with the ability to easily remove and reattach them to the skin
SkinKit. (photo: Hybrid Body Lab)
What if the computing power of a smartphone could be integrated directly into people's skin? Materials scientists and electrical engineers are exploring the possibilities of wearable (wearable) technology with theseintelligent tattoos.
And it is that recently a team of researchers from Cornell University in the United States has proposed that wearable circuits can be split into multiple single-use modules. They can be built, like the classic Lego, to create more complex circuits and finally obtain this type of tattoos.
By collecting data directly from users' bodies and using it to calculate useful information and display it directly on the skin, these researchers hope that smart tattoos (or wearable technology) could soon be applied to many everyday tasks.
From laptop computers that track a person's progress in the gym, to how fast someone runs in a marathon, to smart wearable bandages that provide doctors real-time information on the conditions of patients.
How could this be possible
To make this idea a reality, researchers must first develop efficient, long-lasting electrical circuits that remain skin-friendly for long periods of time. To do this, these circuits must be soft, fine and flexible enough to adapt to the skin (chest, arms, back, etc.).
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Currently, portable technologies are not only expensive and time-consuming to manufacture, but also need to be produced as robust circuits that can only be used in very specific applications, limiting their versatility.
It's like creating a new cell phone for each new app prototype. This makes it expensive and almost impossible. At least for the general public and outside of testing areas.
SkinKit. (Photo: Hybrid Body Lab)
A fully customizable futuristic tattoo
In a new study published by the Association for Computing Machinery , researchers at Cornell University presented a new concept of smart tattoos called SkinKit. When assembled, the SkinKit tattoo consists of a thin, flexible silicone-based paper that adheres directly to the skin on one side, and pre-programmed circuitry on the other.
Each one of these modules consists of a thin, flexible printed circuit board connected to individual cable modules.
The silicone layer inside the SkinKit tattoo not only provides a comfortable barrier between the skin and the circulation of device, but also acts as an infrastructure to support the tattoo as the skin stretches and contracts.
Smart tattoos created by the users themselves
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These unique features make SkinKit tattoos highly customizable. Best of all (and unlike their “tattoo” description) these modules are easily removable and reattached, meaning they can be easily reused for different purposes to suit the needs of the user.< /p>
Therefore, they are ideal for prototyping new portable designs. If the user wants to measure what happens on his back or the movements of his hand, it is only necessary to put a smart tattoo in that place.
Using the final design of such tattoos , participants were able to create a fully functional smart tattoo from scratch in an average of less than 23 minutes. This success clearly shows the team just how accessible and versatile this technology could one day be.
SkinKit. (photo: Hybrid Body Lab)