These Look Like Temporary Tattoos — But They're So Much More

Photo: MIT Media Lab.
The past few years have seen the rise of more sophisticated and stylish wearables, from smartwatches to fitness bands and wireless headphones. But as far as they've come, they still, for the most part, stand out as pieces of tech, rather than everyday forms of personal (and fashionable) expression.

All that might be about to change, thanks to the first-ever tech-enhanced flash tattoos. DuoSkin, a collaboration between Microsoft Research and MIT Media Lab, looks like a metallic temporary tattoo, but actually does a whole lot more. It uses layers of gold leaf (the same material used to decorate chocolates and picture frames) as a conductor, connecting the parts of small, simple, and beautiful circuits, like the one below.
Photo: MIT Media Lab.
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So far, DuoSkin's creators have been able to embed LEDs into the tattoos so that they light up — a very eye-catching affect for a costume or as a piece of 21st-century jewelry. They've also turned them into buttons and 2-D trackpads that let you change your music simply by touching your skin. You can even use the tattoo as NFC tags, so you can exchange information between your skin and a phone app, for example.

You can watch the video, below, to see how the tattoos are made. Don't miss the ones that change color based on your emotions, something that could be dangerous during a job interview, but fun on a date.