The Emergence of Functional Body Art
Over the last decade, consumer technology has surpassed even the wildest imaginations of science-fiction writers. The fantastic gadgets which used to mesmerize movie-goers and readers have become commonplace, and even an essential part of modern life. From smartphones to self-driving cars, technology has evolved at an incredible rate.
Today, wearable tech is among the hottest new trends which are promising to revolutionize the way we live. Over 20% of Americans used wearable technology in 2015. Taking the concept of wearables to the next logical step, researchers have created digital tattoos.
WHAT ARE DIGITAL TATTOOS?
The use of the term “digital tattoo” is more of a marketing ploy than an accurate description of the product itself. Digital tattoos have more in common with the temporary tattoos found in toy stores, than the permanent, needle and ink variety.
Digital tattoos are simply ultra-thin and flexible electronics created from highly-conductive materials, such as gold leaves, which are placed directly on the user’s skin. A digital tattoo allows the wearer to interact with other electronic devices around him in a number of unique ways.
DuoSkin is an example of the future direction of this new technology. Developed through a collaboration between MIT Media Lab and Microsoft Research, the DIY DuoSkin fabrication process allows users to create digital tattoos which are inexpensive, attractive, safe, highly customizable, and unlike other forms of body art, functional as well.
WHAT CAN DIGITAL TATTOOS DO?
The developers of digital tattoos believe their products will have a large number of real-world applications.
The simplest digital tattoos allow wearers to conveniently input and display information, as well as easily communicate wirelessly with a wide number of devices using battery-free Near-Field Communication (NFC). More complex versions of digital tattoos have sensors which can monitor a wearer’s vital signs and provide lifesaving medical information.
HOW CAN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS TREND?
Digital tattoos can be utiltized by the hospitality industry, especially in a resort, cruise ship, or hotel setting:
- A guest’s personal digital tattoo can rep