Smart Tattoos: A Deep Dive

Smart Tattoos: A Deep Dive

I recently wrote an article titled “The “Next Big Thing” in Technology : 20 Inventions That Will Change the World”, which was read more than 21,000 times in August.

I recently wrote an article titled “The “Next Big Thing” in Technology : 20 Inventions That Will Change the World”, which was read more than 21,000 times in August. Interestingly, out of the 20 innovations described, “Smart Tattoos” is the one that generated the most excitement. 

As such, I’ve gone more in depth on the technology, identifying use cases and drawbacks to see if there really **are opportunities for this idea to be truly transformative. It might otherwise be one of those technologies quickly abandoned for lack of technical breakthroughs or customer needs. During my research, I had the chance to speak to [Jonathan Lester](, Principal Electrical Engineer at [Microsoft Research**]( (and all-around dream-boat). His quotes are peppered throughout this article.

What’s a Smart Tattoo?

In short, “Smart Tattoos” (aka “epidermal electronic systems”, but that’s less sexy) are personalized circuits, adhesives, conductors and microprocessors that can be “glued” onto the skin. They can then send signals to devices via touch, and allow its users to interact with the world around them. They can also be used to monitor vitals, or react to external stimuli such as temperature. If that sounds cyberpunk AF, trust your instincts.

Put simply, it is a logical extension of the personalisation *trend, the *wearables *trend, and the *healthtech trend.

In their current form, Smart Tattoos would be temporary on the skin. They can however last much longer on prosthetics or clothes, and have the benefit of being cheap compared to a lot of the hardware available out there.

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