Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Personalized Skin-Hardware Interfaces are Still in the Realm of Fiction

Technovelgy reports on the "Dattoo", a DNA-based "tattoo" proposed by German industrial designer Hartmut Esslinger. According to the description, the Dattoo would actually be a hardware interface printed on the skin. The DNA doesn't seem to do anything except "personalize" the design:
To achieve absolute personal identification, the hardware would capture DNA from the user’s body, enabling direct participation in the political and cultural landscape. The technology would link remote users through engagement with their areas of interest. The system would be personalized not only by this DNA inclusion, but by a more standard procedure in which users choose the applications they carry. Content I/O - including tools like cameras, microphones and laser-loudspeakers - would be connected to “interface pods”, then function as generic hardware.

[. . . ] Once users are satisfied with their specific configurations, they have this fully-functioning circuitry - including all UI-interactive and display functions - “printed” onto recommended areas of their skin. Energy would be pulled from the human body to run the programs. At the end of the day, users would simply wash the Dattoos off, beginning anew the following day.
Technovelgy points out that such "skinprint" interfaces have been proposed in science fiction, such as John Varley's novel Steel Beach. Read the whole Technovelgy post form more details.
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