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TECH: Smart Tattoos Control Electronic Devices
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BT 201806 Tech 02      智能手表这样的健康追踪设备存在一个共同的问题:它们并不是真的附着在你身上,你只能依赖于一个短暂的电池和一个无线连接,即使是一个自供电的补丁也有其局限性。如果这类设备可以像纹身一样不需要穿戴,直接附在我们的身体和皮肤上,像纹身那样该有多好?确实,炫酷的纹身时下备受年轻人的追捧,但其功能或许远不止于装点皮肤。美国麻省理工学院(MIT)媒体实验室与微软研究院合作研制出一种名为Duoskin的即时纹身,使用者通过触控纹身便可以控制自己的智能手机等电子设备。麻省理工的一名博士生Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao解释道,任何人都可以根据说明书上的步骤自行制作智能纹身。首先,人们可以用任何一款图像设计软件设计出纹身的电子回路。设计完成之后,可以用便宜的刻字机将电子回路的轮廓打印出来,覆上金箔,最后再将金箔揭开,纹身的制作便大功告成。能纹身由金箔制成,类似于人们日常烤面包时及装饰相框所用的箔纸。它有三个主要功能。第一,具有传导性的金箔相当于一个接触面,可以通过与之相连的小型电子元件向电脑传送数据。使用者可以将皮肤当作触控板,控制电脑屏幕。例如,在纹身上左右滑动便可以滚动浏览电子设备上的相册。其次,纹身可以作为人体的输出指示。由于在制作过程中采用了温变颜料,纹身可以根据用户的体温甚至情绪变化,呈现出不同的颜色或图案。最后,这款即时纹身还可以作为通信装置进行数据传输。例如,它可以内置NFC(近场通信)芯片,可以在不接触的前提下完成两个设备之间的数据传输,或在乘坐地铁时完成支付。“在未来,当你走进纹身店时你可能就会得到一个这样的纹身。”Hsin-Liu Kao说道,“这(种纹身)不仅在视觉上精巧闪亮,而且还会成为你自身的一个扩展。  

BT 201806 Tech 01If you see a man with a tattoo, you would probably think he’s dangerous or even cool. The art of tattoos has become much more than just being a drawing; it represents one’s status, attitudes, and beliefs. But until now, we couldn’t imagine a tattoo representing a wearable tech device which transforms you into one big microchip. In future, tattoos could become much more than drawings and inscriptions. Thanks to the research team from MIT and Ph.D. student Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, people around the world could be using smart tattoos to control their electronic devices. No, it’s not science fiction, and you’re not dreaming, this concept has all the possibilities of becoming one of the greatest high tech inventions in the world.

The DuoSkin team collaborated with designer Chris Bevans to customize these on skin interface tattoosMIT and Microsoft Joint Research Study

MIT Media Lab and Microsoft Research have developed a new type of temporary high-tech tattoo that allows you to use not just smartphones, but also other types of electronic devices like tablets, laptops, microphones, TV’s etc. Tattoos, called DuoSkin, are part of a huge project, the objective being to develop “on – skin” technologies applicable to high tech devices. They are applied like any other temporary tattoo and are made of golden and metallic leaves. If you look at them, you would probably think it’s a piece of jewelry and not a tattoo. Even though they are considered to be prototypes, it hasn’t deterred tech lovers to buzz about it and try to sign up for the free prototype.
 

Smart tattoos are not something that’s new on the market. L’Oreal issued a patch that monitors UV radiation exposure and there were some prototypes measuring the level of lactate in our body. However, this is the first time that a team of researchers used materials which are not expensive, like silver ink. They created tattoos from materials which you can buy at any craft store. Those are imitations of gold leaves made of copper because both gold and copper serve as good conductors of electricity.
 

Making of DuoSkin Tattoos

stepsThe process involves three phases and it can be conducted even by a person who has very little knowledge about tattooing. You don’t have to go to a surgery or be afraid that something bad will happen. Volunteers who tried were able to design their own motifs and apply with water ink or copper tape.
 

The first phase consists of choosing your own design. This is not a one – size pattern. You can choose whatever suits you. By using any graphic software, people could create their own piece of art on their skin.
 

By proceeding to the next phase, volunteers get to know the process of applying the design to fabrics. They cut it out of vinyl and paper and put the imitation of gold leaf to the vinyl. Due to the fact that this material serves as a great conductor, tattoos become touch sensitive.
 

Finally, tattoos are laminated on to the skin using water transfer method. This water -based ink can be easily removed afterward.
 

Types of DuoSkin Tattoos

MITs DuoSkin turns temporary tattoos into on skin interfacesDuoSkin tattoos aren’t only used to display data. They have some other interesting functions as well. Basically, there are three types of tattoos: input, output and communication. The output type allows you to "exchange feelings" using the Couple Harmony application. During the demonstration, one person wore a "mood button" on his hand, and pressed it when he felt angry. Then the tattoo flared in form of a flame reflecting the person’s mood. It can also reflect other types of mood, so the medical scientists are already discussing the health benefits of applying these tattoos to patient’s skin. These heat processes activate the changes in colour from white to red.

Input type relies on the tattoo functioning as a touchpad. Imagine a computer connected to a music application and you can choose your favorite song or change the volume. You can even design a tattoo like an icon of your favorite application. If you get a new notification, the tattoo would light up.
 

Communicative type puts an emphasis on NFC technology advantages. The tattoo would function as a wireless device. Information could be stored and paired with other devices. For example, you could carry all your personal data with you and allow others to send and receive them.
 

In their research paper, the MIT team concluded: “It is our vision that in future, on-skin electronics will no longer be black-boxed and mystified, but they will converge towards user-friendliness, extensibility, and aesthetics of body decorations, forming a DuoSkin integrated to the extent that it has seemingly disappeared. We aim to make durable and skin-friendly on-skin user interfaces available to the wider community, using commodity materials, electronic components, and fabrication processes.”

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