talk2myShirt is always looking ahead to check what might be the next big thing after Wearable Electronic. One emerging trend might be, after technology has conquered our clothing, to bring technology under the skin according to recent works from researchers and other forward thinking folks.
I have to admit this sounds a bit frightening especially for people like me that can not stand seeing a small cut on the finger but there are signs in form of concepts and first demonstrators that do just this, get technology under the skin.
One such example is the recent work of Jim Mielke‘s for the Core77 ‘Greener Gadgets Design Competition‘. Her Digital Tattoo Interface is a display the size of 2×4 inch which also acts as a Bluetooth device made of thin, flexible silicon and silicone.
It is inserted through a small incision beneath the skin and muscle. Two small tubes on the device are attached to an artery and a vein to allow the blood to flow to a coin-sized blood fuel cell that converts glucose and oxygen to electricity.
If you are still with us, the operation is over and we can go on to the function description: the top surface of the display enables touch-screen control through the skin. Instead of ink, the display uses tiny microscopic spheres, similar to how e-Ink works. A field-sensitive material in the spheres changes their color from clear to black.
The tattoo display communicates wirelessly to other Bluetooth devices inside the body or outside the body with the Interactive Clothing for example.
The display can be turned on and off by pushing a small dot on the skin. When the phone rings the tattoo comes to life as a digital video of the caller. When the call ends, the tattoo disappears.
Maybe not something for the faint hearted but if you can get over the initial implantation stage you would have the coolest gadget ever made. It’s a concept for now but I am sure where there is a will there will be a way to make it – one day.
Another interesting, less bloody and almost ready for commercial launch is a technology that turns the surface of the human body (skin) itself into a means of data transmission.
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) has already developed technology that allows swapping data as heavy as motion pictures through a handshake but this system has not been launched commercially.
What NTT want’s to commercialize (maybe as early as this spring) is a room-entry system that uses the data transmission capability of the human skin to replace keys once and forever.
I would say a very practical idea, never forgetting your keys anymore, just touch your lock with your finger. And yeah, never cut off your finger or just cut your finger otherwise you will be left out in the cold.
Some time ago a concept of changing business card data via handshake using skin data transmission was discussed as well but just how to get the data onto your skin seems is a challenge to be still mastered.
Using a finger touch to open a lock seems more feasible, maybe each human being radiates by nature (default) differently but – why not using the finger print reader then ….. it’s there, used in many areas from bank security to cell phones.
I do not mean to sound sarcastic, I fully support the imagination power of the human brain to figure out new things but before putting something into the market and expect returns we might spend as well some time and brainpower to check if a new technology does make sense in the every-day world where added-value, personal taste and cultural values come into the equotation.
Be it Skin Technology, Wearable Technology or any other product idea; only products that add value and make life easier will have success.