Electronic tattoos: soon to be a reality?

[gallery]Temporary tattoos may soon be more than a futuristic idea. Scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University, Tufts University, the Institute of High Performance Computing in Singapore, and Dalian University of Technology in China, are collaborating on ultrathin, self-adhesive electronics that can be worn like a skin tattoo. The skin "stamp" could monitor heart rate, brain waves, and muscle activity without bulky equipment, conductive fluids, or messy glues. Perhaps now we can realize Lucy McRae's SkinTiles done a few years ago for Philips Design.

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Skin as the electronic platform

Philips Design has a series of projects that explore the body and skin as the platform for electronics. One of the project called SkinTiles by Lucy McRae, consists of electronic sensing jewelry that adheres directly to the skin. As described by Philips, "It is a new genre of product; a generation of wireless, stick-on body sensors that re-define traditional body adornment."

In another project called Skin:Tattoo, the technology is directly integrated into the skin to form a reactive tattoo. The tattoo responds to touch, which changes and morphs the shape and design. Together, the projects make a statement on the sensuality and intimate aspect of technology that we wear as our second skin, and in this case, as our skin itself. They also explore an implementation of technology that is directly integrated into the aesthetics of our own bodies.