Hack-a-Tatt: smart tattoos put technology right on your skin

By Natalie Singer-Velush

Wearable technology in the form of smart tattoos is not a dream of the future; it’s a thing of the now. Microsoft employees and researchers are advancing designs for decorative wearables, which can act as remote controls directly from the skin. Spearheaded by Microsoft research designer Asta Roseway, a recent Hack-a-Tatt workshop during the Microsoft Hackathon invited fellow employees to explore and design new interfaces that enable wearers to play games and music and control devices from their skin or clothing.

The interactive tattoos can be connected to any device via Bluetooth from a microprocessor. While the tattoos are temporary, especially on the skin, they can last for months on non-skin surfaces, including fabrics or 3D prints (and possibly, researchers are exploring, prosthetics). New research and testing will also inform the design of smart tattoo kits, which will help empower anyone to design and build their own smart tattoo and open up the technology’s use and applications.