A small computer that attaches to the skin

A small computer that attaches to the skin

We have already talked about smart patches and tattoos that work to monitor health and with limited or even unique purpose, these devices have given us a glimpse of what is to come and how we will be users of such technology. This wearable technology has been primarily geared toward health and wellness, and while smart watches and smart glasses are considered very close to the wearer, the new computer will adhere to the skin.

"We've been working on this for years and I think we've finally solved a lot of the technical challenges," commented Cindy Kao, assistant professor of human-centered design in the School of Human Ecology. and the lead author of the study. "We wanted to create a modular approach to smart tattoos to make them as simple as building Legos," she added. The new technology called SkinKit works as a plug-and-play system that aims to "lower the floor for input" to interfaces in the skin, Kao explained.

The challenge they have overcome at Cornell's Hybrid Body Lab, from which the new technology comes to us, is to combine in one device, comfort, and durability with current wearable technologies such as sensing capabilities.

In addition, this device was devised in diverse cultures and in its ability to be worn by diverse populations, "People from different cultures, backgrounds and ethnicities may have very different perceptions towards these devices," commented Kao, "We feel it's actually very important to allow more people to have a voice to say what they want these smart tattoos to do."

SkinKit is made from temporary tattoo paper, silicone textile stabilizer and water, this multi-layered thin film structure was dubbed skin cloth by the team and can be cut into any shape needed. For research purposes, they were cut into fitting segments of approximately three-quarters of an inch. Equipped with miniaturized flexible printed circuit board modules. to perform a variety of tasks.

The design is all about functionality and reusability "The user can put them on and take them off easily. Let's say today you want to use one of the sensors for certain purposes, but tomorrow you want it for something different. You can easily take them apart and reuse some of the modules to make a new device in minutes," Kao explained.

25 study participants gave it a variety of applications, from health, wellness, and sports to even assistive technology, such as a wrist sensor for the blind that would vibrate when the user was about to bump into an object.

The future of smart tattoos has changed with this new technology, expect further advances and applications of the SkinKit, as well.

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation and you can read more at

13 de Diciembre, 2022