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Several technologies are nearing convergence that collectively have the ability to create a new field of skin-like electronics, that are either embedded in human skin or become an exo-skin coating. Flexible, implantable/coatable electronics will soon begin to change the way we interface with information and the computing systems around us.

Digital Tattoo Interface – [core77.com]

Her cell phone is ringing, but the display is turned off. She lightly pushes a small dot on the skin on her left forearm to suddenly reveal a two by four inch tattoo with the image of the cell phone’s digital display, directly in the skin of her arm. She answers the call by pushing a tattooed button on her arm. While she’s talking, the tattoo comes to life as a digital video of the caller. When she finishes, the tattoo disappears.

This Bluetooth device is permanently implanted beneath the skin. It is flat, flexible, silicon and silicone. Tightly rolled when it’s inserted through a small incision, and then unfurled beneath the skin, it lies benignly between skin and muscle.

Skinput, the Touch-Interface For Your Skin, Brings a Whole Nother Meaning to Touch Typing – [gizmodo.com]

While resistive touchscreens are being phased out in favor of capacitive screens, Carnegie Mellon University and Microsoft are working together on touchscreens for your body, called Skinput.

Artificial skin based on flexible optical tactile sensors – [spie.org]

Artificial skin consists of a surface containing a large number of sensors.1 To match the human skin as closely as possible, we are developing a range of artificial-skin concepts based on optical pressure sensors that are integrated in flexible or even stretchable foils. This enables sensing of pressure changes on irregular or moving surfaces. For instance, robots equipped with these foils can be given an improved sense of touch. In addition, a large number of medical applications are targeted, such as monitoring pressure distributions in shoe soles or prostheses.

In the last decade, pressure sensors have already been developed to create artificial skin based on electrical sensors on rigid or (in the best case) flexible substrates.2,3 Optical sensors have a number of advantages compared to their electrical counterparts. They do not suffer from electromagnetic interference and can have higher resolution, speed, and sensitivity. Optical sensors can also be used in harsh environments or places were electrical currents are undesirable, like in the human body.

Implantable Silicon-Silk Electronics – [technologyreview]

By building thin, flexible silicon electronics on silk substrates, researchers have made electronics that almost completely dissolve inside the body. So far the research group has demonstrated arrays of transistors made on thin films of silk. While electronics must usually be encased to protect them from the body, these electronics don’t need protection, and the silk means the electronics conform to biological tissue. The silk melts away over time and the thin silicon circuits left behind don’t cause irritation because they are just nanometers thick.

TF Skin
Naked Clothes
Printing Body Tissue
Silk Circuits

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