The Human Body as a Touchpad

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The Human Body As A Touchpad


The next step to connect man and machine has been taken. 


The" decoration of the skin," which conceals elements of technology, is not unimaginable today. Having introduced tattooing as a sophisticated health monitoring device a few years ago, it is logical that researchers intend to continue to tinker with the technique even further.

Wearable technology is probably the most likely "music of the future." From smart bracelets and watches, humanity is slowly moving towards chips under the skin and interactive tattoos. Scientists intend to go even further and would like to turn the human body into a touchpad.

Google invested considerable sums in the development of wearable technology. This time, it is a completely unique tattoo that can practically "turn" a person's whole body into a kind of a giant touchpad.

Generally, smart tattoos are technically called epidermal electronic systems. They can be anything from personalized circuits to microprocessors or adhesives and conductors that a person can, for lack of a better word, glue onto their skin.


Image source: The Verge

SkinMarks Temporary Tattoo

The whole project is called SkinMarks, and its goal is to ensure that human interaction with all sorts of technological "gadgets" is as natural and smooth as possible. According to the engineers, it should be possible to apply SkinMarks directly to the fingers of the hand or even to another part of the body. 


The subsequent use of wearable technology would be quite simple; it would be enough just to move a finger, clench a fist, or define other gestures that would become easy to learn for the user relatively quickly. Imagine if you could control your phone without having to pick it up. And much more….

Thanks to the greatly reduced thickness of the tattoo and increased extensibility, the SkinMark is thin and flexible enough to adapt to irregular geometry such as bending lines and protruding bones. 

SkinMarks will be produced with the help of screen printing technology and conductive ink. Everything will be transferred to tattoo paper and then to the skin after heat treatment to avoid possible deformation.

For the time being, the developers themselves do not know when and whether mass production will be started at all or if it will be just a prototype, but the idea is interesting. 

The new technology could really make life easier in the future. But already now, there are opponents of this novelty.

Critics accuse Google of being just another way to get the most detailed data from people and to use it for personalized ads. There is no easier way to collect data than to have sensors tattooed directly onto human skin. An interesting fact is that targeted advertising annually brings Google more than $160 billion.

The main challenge is that putting anything on the body means that it has to be bio-compatible. That rules out many materials that people are allergic to and anything that could cause irritation over a long period of time.

On the other hand, it seems easy – the sensors can be triggered by traditional touch or swipe gestures as we perform on smartphones, and you can do it even without looking. You could squeeze the area around the tattoo or bend your fingers or limbs to activate the sensors. 


The future will show if this wearable technology will become popular.





Bruce Jacobs

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