Microsoft Researchers, along with researchers from MIT have come out with DuoSkin Tattoos. What makes these tattoos different from that skull on your right arm is that these can control smartphone apps! Applied just how the regular temporary tattoos are applied, these tattoos are made of gold leaf, and LEDs. This gives the tattoos a jewelry-like appeal.

As per these researchers, there are three main uses that are being highlighted: Firstly as an input device, allowing the users to control smartphone apps. In addition to that, there is also the possibility of using these tattoos as output devices. That tattoo could be used as a display! The third use is that of a communication device. With the use of NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, these tattoos can be used to communicate to nearby devices.

The Input idea is quite similar to what Google is doing with the Project Jacquard. This allows the sensors in the clothing to create a wearable touchpad. DuoSkin too, is perhaps looking at something similar. Users can control apps by swiping on the tattoos! A prototype has also been built. The MIT Papers describe it as a ‘Skin bracelet’. The tattoo is connected to an Arduino computer paired to a music app. This allows swiping on the tattoo to control the music playback.

Talking about the DuoSkin tattoos as output devices, a prototype with ‘mood button’ has been created. One person wore a mood button on their arm, while the other had a flame shaped tattoo. As soon as the button was hit, the flames in the tattoo become brighter. A similar tattoo has also been developed that glows red or white depending on the body temperature.

The NFC version of the tattoo allow the users to exchange information by tapping the smartphone on the tattoo. What is worth noting is that many other companies, including the likes of Google have experimented with NFC enabled tattoos in the past. DuoSkin, however, is expected to take things one major step forward.