The future is now.
How do we generally perceive people with tattoos? Rebellious, edgy, non-conformist, tech-savvy… wait, what? What do tattoos have to do with tech? Ask scientists from Saarland University (Germany), who have developed electronic tattoos that can turn the little wrinkles on your skin into touch-sensitive buttons that can control your smartphone. SkinMarks, as they’re called, are thinner than your hair and transferred onto your skin through water. Overwhelming much? Don’t worry, they’re only temporary, and can be easily rubbed off.
If you get a SkinMark on your finger, just rub your fingers against each other and you can actually slide up and down your screens – it’s practically magic on your fingertips! You can even bend that magic finger to turn the tattoo into a play/pause button -- time to show the finger to anyone complaining about the music you play!
SkinMarks on your knuckles can act as four distinct buttons when you make a fist, and a slider when you extend your fingers. With so much power in your fingers, you’ll be as cool as Shakaal from Shaan.
Juergen Steimleof of Saarland University states that they have used the elastic property of the skin, such as bending and stretching, to achieve the technology. Another researcher from the same team, Martin Weigel, is of the opinion that bumps and birthmarks are ideal locations for the touch-sensitive buttons, since SkinMarks are responsive to the changes on the surface of the skin.
The team has also placed a heart-shaped tattoo on a volunteer’s birthmark that glows (called the electroluminescent SkinMarks) when a nominated loved one is online/available for a call. Just touch the tattoo and your phone will dial the person. #ValentinesDayGoals
A few hurdles are yet to be crossed by the team at Saarland University before the technology can make its way into mainstream use. Nevertheless, it’s “amazing research’’, as put by Chris Harrison of Carnegie Mellon University.
“You’ll have these digital tattoo parlours that you can go to in 2050 and five minutes later you can walk out with the iPhone 22 on your forearm,” he added, as quoted by the New Scientist.