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Microsoft Research is working on a temporary tattoo controller for your phone

Microsoft Research, in collaboration with M.I.T., is working on a project called DuoSkin, which is designed to create a custom control device that can be placed on the skin like a temporary tattoo.

Microsoft and M.I.T have published a paper on their DuoSkin project (via The Verge), which will be officially presented this September as part of the International Symposium on Wearable Computers in Germany. Here's a basic description of how their project works:

DuoSkin is a fabrication process that enables anyone to create customized functional devices that can be attached directly on their skin. Using gold metal leaf, a material that is cheap, skin-friendly, and robust for everyday wear, we demonstrate three types of on-skin interfaces: sensing touch input, displaying output, and wireless communication. DuoSkin draws from the aesthetics found in metallic jewelry-like temporary tattoos to create on-skin devices which resemble jewelry. DuoSkin devices enable users to control their mobile devices, display information, and store information on their skin while serving as a statement of personal style. We believe that in the future, on-skin electronics will no longer be black-boxed and mystified; instead, they will converge towards the user friendliness, extensibility, and aesthetics of body decorations, forming a DuoSkin integrated to the extent that it has seemingly disappeared.

The DuoSkin tattoo circuitry is created first with graphic design software, then fabricated by first creating stencils of the circuitry and then applying gold leaf for its conductive material. Finally, the electronics are mounted, and the DuoSkin tattoo is applied on a person's skin with a water-based transfer process.

What do you think about the idea of controlling your phone with a temporary tattoo? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

69 Comments
  • I think that's groundbreaking stuff! I'd buy them the moment they're out in the market...freakin amazing if they get it to work right!
    Just saw the video...metallic tattoos don't look that great for guys though....would love coloured or black even
  • Sign me up.
  • Probably not for myphone but for iPhone. Starting to get pissed that MSFT lost all the ground that Nokia worked hard for.
  • What ground was that? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • This has nothing to do with Nokia you dolt
  • It would be cool if they had licensed characters from games like Zelda or logos of brands and not just generic patterns.
  • Yeah, but don't worry. Men always wore pocket watches but now everyone has one in their wrists.
  • Hmmm mm looks cool but not thinking I would ever use something like this, easier to just us the phone ??
  • Agreed, its very interesting technology, maybe useful for the world of espionage but for my day to day don't think I would be buying one of these!
  • I agree. It's useless and gimmicky like McLaren's 3D touch.
  • I personally disagree about 3d touch, that has some possibilities that could be usefull whilst holding the actual phone, and holding a phone is a habit that users do not need to pick up on/learn, so an easier sell
  • Why they use an Android device in the video?? Always weird Microsoft...
  • Because they're afraid of promoting Windows Phone... Or that's what it seems like sometimes
  • It's probably because android is such an open platform and ez to integrate devices too since it gives access to the hardware easier.
  • Because that's where the biggest returns are. MIT aren't likely to sit back, and wait for a return on W10M, when Android / iOS offers the fastest route to market, and fastest route to potential returns. I guess it will come, but it would be nice to have a bit of exclusivity. Then again, an OEM like Samsung would rip it off anyway. Maybe that's another reason. Release it to Android, before it gets robbed? Just like their biometric offering, MS never really got it developed in time, and now Samsung have one that the tech blogs are praising as if it were the first!!
  • cause microsoft is going to abandon wm...why should they develop for this plattform? They show clearly over the last year they are not interested to support this plattform anymore so this is a slow dying and this is why you will never see the latest cool stuff on a w10m device
  • You sir need to learn how to live and understand beyond the present. They've said it over and over that w10m will be developed for many years to come and that this retrenched phase isn't permanent.
  • @wurst, clearly you are delusional.
  • Skinput?
  • Lol. How's about, as you started it, this one..... Sarkasm. I'll get me coat.....
  • I can see some people giving butt dial a whole new meaning. v10
  • Very interesting
    Can't wait to see this as an actual product and see the actual applications
  • How come Microsoft research always has crazy cool innovative invention and can't make the best phones?!
  • Cause there are more important technology things other than phones. Lol
  • They have made some good devices. They just dont know how to market them, build carrier relationships and any other hoop you have to jump through to do well. IMHO, they relied too heavily on the windows name and gave a product that wasn't quite windows. Plus some hair brained planning, or lack of, and you end up where we are. They needed to adopt the mantra of: Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
  • Well, I guess there won't be a Windows Mobile app...
  • iOS first, Android second, Windows Phone last.
  • Windows phone never
  • Exactly! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Microsoft Research/Garage cares more about Android than they do iOS. Look at their Android launchers and Android Wear apps, they're all freaking awesome.
  • While a die-hard WM fan I'm afraid my L930 might be the last Windows device I have. I'd love to get a 950 XL due to its camera, but lack of love WM gets from MS is killing me.
  • Coping MIT
  • It won't sell
  • You can use it on iPhone but not on Windows 10 Mobile
  • Anyone have hair on their arms? I do
  • I'd love to try this out.
  • How about, first, if they can just get Bluetooth to work consistently. After all these months and all these builds I'll still experiencing Bluetooth issues.
  • Have had no issues with Bluetooth apart from Blaze sync's very slowly. Even when I turn blaze classic pair Bluetooth, to control my music, I still don't have any issues, and that's whilst having a plantronics voyager pro+ attached.
  • But then who would develop future versions of office? Because, like we all know, software companies can only focus on one thing at a time.
  • Why?
  • Wow. All I remember right now is Daniel saying Sataya said MS research would soon go faster to consumer and that makes me crazy excited for all the brain trust at ms has in store for us.
  • Now now. Don't get too excited or the bully's will give you a wedgie :D
  • Wow. Now that would be interesting! Only problem is, according to the trolls and emo's, the phone business is dead (?) Especially with the Android in the video, so, according to some, it'll never come to windows. Let's wait and see before we start cutting wrists. Or is patience something you gain throughout your life?
  • Well every IOS and Android phone is a business phone considering MS business apps are now available on those. https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/getting-started/#use-the-... Wait! where's the WP app for this? Well, MS says: Considering the miniscule marketshare we've decided to concentrate our dev efforts for this app only on IOS and Android.
  • Cool cool cool!!!
  • soon usable on android...windows mobile will never get it
  • Gimmicky.
  • Looks kind of like the "phone" device Colin Farrell ripped out of his arm in the Total Recall remake.
  • Looks like the 21st century version of the Nintendo Power Glove. Slimmer, smaller, a tattoo instead of a glove. But still not practical at all.
  • Very cool innovation. Simple and cost effective, so many opportunities to implement this tech into accessibility product design.
  • Looks cool and hopefully something that could be out in the next two or three years. But damn hope it supports Windows Phone on launch because most research apps doesn't
  • It is cool... But is that even useful???
  • how about a music controls tattoo
  • I was thinking the same thing. And maybe that's available cause i think i heard them say something like this in the video.
  • I think it's pretty cool.
  • Awesome
  • Volume control alone would be awesome! Wonder how they handle the connection...?
  • Nokia had a bit different take on tattoos. http://www.wired.com/2012/03/nokia-files-patent-for-haptic-feedback-tattoo/
  • Microsoft becoming an innovation specialist. Good call.
  • Wow, awesome tech!! Can't wait, to implement this one..
  • Controlling music, VR, intelligent house apps etc etc. This could be cool.
  • DJ Full Sleeves
  • I'm all for R&D, while I don't see a strong practical use for this now it may develop. I love Windows, I don't care about what is fashionable. I just really want Microsoft to get it together and bring us a game changing phone. The chemistry is simple, make it fast, beautiful and capable of managing more of our surroundings. I want something on a wristband that can connect to and control everything around me, it should be waterproof like my G-Shock and have an excellent camera , be secure and not be trackable unless you want it to be. I would like it to have a screen the size of my current smartphone. All the technology to build it already exists. The wrist cuff could pack a massive battery and last for a week without charging. Why aren't we building these?
  • I sense this will be part of the NWO in the future, One currency and the chip that everyone will wear to mark who they belong to. Anyways it does look cool though.
  • I am a type one diabetic, if this somehow linked in with blood sugar monitoring without the need for squeezing blood out my fingers every two hours it would be a must buy to link in with monitoring equipment.
  • Have you considered CBGMS? That device sticks on your tummy & does all the monitoring. Try discuss with your endocrinologist.
  • Not my thing. I would rather have a phone like the 950XL but super thin and wrap around my wrist like a wide bracelet. If I can get a BT headset the size of a hearing aid with great audio and all day battery. That to me is the future.
  • The video shows that its wired.
  • "ONLY FOR IOS AND ANDROID!" Posted via the Windows Central App for Android