The News Today
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11.29.20
Functional Art

Google Is Working on Tattoos That Turn Your Body Into a Touchpad

__Dan Robitzski__Filed Under: Robots & Machines
Weigel et al./Victor Tangermann

New Ink

Undeterred by its historic Google Glass flop, Google is still investing heavily in various oddball forms of wearable technology.

Recent projects, according to CNET, include new mixed reality glasses, virtual reality controllers that let you feel the weight of virtual objects, and new smartwatches. But perhaps the most unusual is a high-tech temporary tattoo that basically turns your flesh into a giant touchpad.

Flesh Look

CNET reports that the idea behind the tattoo project, dubbed SkinMarks, is to make interacting with technology feel more natural. The SkinMarks can be applied to fingers or parts of the hand that we control with instinctive fine motor skills, so using the sensors through a bend of the finger or a squeeze of the fist could become like second nature.

“Through a vastly reduced tattoo thickness and increased stretchability, a SkinMark is sufficiently thin and flexible to conform to irregular geometry, like flexure lines and protruding bones,” The Saarland University researchers who were funded by Google to develop the tech wrote in a white paper about the project.

I, Product

Aside from the market value of beating other tech giants like Facebook or Apple at the wearable game, CNET reports that Google is particularly incentivized to get more people to use wearable devices — or literally imprint them on their skin — in order to collect even more of that sweet, sweet user data.

Targeted advertising brings Google over $160 billion every year. And the brand new categories of data that devices like these tattoos would generate stands to be even more valuable

READ MORE: Google is quietly experimenting with holographic glasses and hybrid smartwatches [CNET]

More on wearables: Mark Zuckerberg: Wearables Will Soon Read Your Mind