The cool kids might have to wait just a little longer until they can head to the local mall for the latest in cutting-edge body modifications.
Researchers at the University of Illinois have created a computerized temporary tattoo of sorts that adheres to your skin, giving us carbon-based life forms a chance to go Borg.
The patches are mounted on a thin sheet of water-soluble plastic, then laminated to the skin with water. Electronic components can be applied and even masked by a more traditional tattoo design. Among the applications -- aside from looking cool -- are "medical diagnostics, communications and human-machine interfaces," the researchers say. Among the components successfully mounted on the flexible patches are sensors, LEDs, transistors, radio frequency capacitors, wireless antennas and solar cells to power it.
"We think this could be an important conceptual advance in wearable electronics, to achieve something that is almost unnoticeable to the wearer," said university electrical and computer engineering professor Todd Coleman In a statement issued by the school. "The technology can connect you to the physical world and the cyber world in a very natural way that feels very comfortable."
The researchers have also used the electronic patches to control a video game and are looking at ways to network multiple patches, as well as to add Wi-Fi capability.