What if the computing power of your smartphone could be integrated directly into your skin? The possibilities of wearable technology are being fully explored by material scientists and electrical engineers with these smart tattoos.

By collecting data directly from users’ bodies and using it to calculate and display useful information directly on their skin, some researchers hope that smart tattoos (or wearable technology) could soon be applied to a whole host of everyday tasks.From laptops that track your progress in the gym, the speed at which you run in a race to smart bandages that provide doctors with real-time information on the condition of their patients.

To make this idea a reality, researchers will first need to develop powerful and durable electrical circuits that remain comfortable to wear on the skin for long periods of time . For this, the circuits must be soft, thin and flexible enough to adapt to our skin ( arm , back , etc.).Wearable technologies today are not only expensive and time consuming to manufacture , but also have to be manufactured as hardwired circuits, which can only be used for very specific applications, limiting their versatility.

It’s like having to build a new phone for every new app prototype . This makes it expensive and unfeasible. At least for the general public and outside the testing fields.Tattoo an arm or a back to know what happens to it
To overcome these challenges, a team of researchers at Cornell University has suggested that wearable circuits could be broken down into several single-use modules. These could be built, like Lego , to create more complex circuits.In a new study , published by the Association for Computing Machinery, a team has come up with a new concept of smart tattooing, dubbed the SkinKit.

Once assembled, the SkinKit tattoo features a thin, flexible silicone-based paper that adheres directly to the skin on one side, and to a set of pre-programmed circuitry on the other.Each of these modules is made up of a thin, flexible circuit board, which is connected by separate cable modules. Inside a SkinKit tattoo, the silicone layer not only provides a comfortable barrier between the skin and the device’s circuitry, but also serves as the infrastructure to hold the tattoo in place as the skin stretches and contracts.

These unique properties make SkinKit designs highly customizable. Best of all (and belying their “tattoo” description), these modules are easy to remove and replace, meaning they can be easily reused in different layouts , depending on the user’s needs.

As such, they are ideal for prototyping new wearable designs. If you want to measure what happens on your back or the movements of your arm , you just have to put the smart tattoo on that area.

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