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Brief Published: 6 Oct 2014

Smart Digital Tattoos

Project Underskin

Project Underskin is a concept for a smart digital tattoo that can seamlessly digitise everyday interactions. Implanted under the skin of the hand, Underskin would enable users to transfer data via a handshake, unlock doors with a wave or monitor the body's health from the palm of the hand.

In an interview with US magazine Fast Company, its creators, US design consultancy NewDealDesign, said they believe consumers are open to the concept of embedded technology – citing the growing popularity of tattoos, piercings and birth control implants. They believe the design could be ready for production within five years.

The tattoo would be powered by electro-chemical energy produced by the body. It could also display private data, such as financial or health-related information, on the inside of the hand.

The implant could perform different functions depending on the type of gesture used. "If you high-five someone, that's very different than hand-holding, or a closed fist, or an open palm," explained Jaeha Yoo, director of experience design at NewDealDesign. "The hand is where a lot of self-expression happens."

This summer saw the first signs that embeddable electronics are becoming viable products. In July, US tech firms Motorola and VivaLnk unveiled a digital tattoo that can be used to unlock a smartphone.

For more on how the wearable market is likely to develop, look at Beyond Wearables, part of our new Post-Digital Macro Trend.

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