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These Gold Leaf Temporary Tattoos Are a Touchscreen and a Fashion Statement

Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, PhD student at MIT, took inspiration from the street fashion in Taiwan when she took part in helping put together this stunning piece of wearable technology at the MIT Media Lab, in partnership with Microsoft. It’s called the Duoskin, and it’s a gold leaf temporary tattoo that can be used as a touchscreen. As the MIT Media Lab website description explains, “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.”

Kao explains more about how the device works in the video about the idea; there’s lots of different ways that the tattoos could be implemented, and not only are they beautiful, they’re safe to wear and customizable according to one’s personal style.

duoskin gif

Another subtle aspect of the video that I noticed is that the Duoskin is shown to be worn on people with a variety of skin tones, so I assume it works just as well no matter your skin tone. By contrast, one of the many problems that people saw with the Cicret bracelet touchscreen (which never came out, at least not yet) was how to account for different skin tones when projecting the touchscreen onto a person’s arm. The Duoskin doesn’t project an entire readable touchscreen; it’s more of a control pad, and in my opinion it’s a much cooler-looking result than the Cicret would have been. Plus, there’s an actual working prototype in existence for the Duoskin, unlike the Cicret, so that helps too.

I also love that this piece of technology has an eye towards fashion and wearable appeal, unlike so many other examples I’ve seen, beyond just the Cicret. The Apple Watch, for example, is notoriously bulky and unattractive, no matter how cool it may be. But these temporary tattoos look so beautiful that I could see myself wearing one all the time! The whole cyborg angle is just an added bonus.

(via The Next Web)

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (