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Future phones ‘could print onto your skin’

Don’t panic – it shouldn’t be permanent (or hurt) like a tattoo. In fact, there would probably be no ink involved whatsoever.

Like the red-skinned imprint on your face if you fall asleep on your watch-hand, phones in the near-future could translate all those digital ones-and-zeroes into a small, raised message on the surface of a phone.

The user could then press their hand, thumb or finger down on the surface to get a temporary ‘tracing’ of the message, avoiding the unnecessary rudeness of picking up your phone during those high-flying business deals.

A special material, which is tentatively called SkinDisplay, would convert those phone messages or missed calls into a physical surface.

Vitamins Design director, Clara Gaggero, told Metropolis Mag that the continuing development of piezoelectric technology (where electricity can deform the material, and the reverse) makes the idea very much possible.

Sponsored by BlackBerry makers Research In Motion (RIM) and the Royal College of Art’s Helen Hamlyn Center, the project was developed by Vitamins Design, the same group involved with Nokia’s Push Snowboarding project that we got to try out.

Another idea from the project, aimed at reducing the invasiveness of mobile phones on day-to-day life, was SmartCall. This system would let you indicate the urgency, subject, and deadline for all of your phone calls.

Still very much an initial concept, RIM is apparently already seeking a patent on the ideas developed, though Wall Street Journal contributor, Christopher Shea sounds a bit nervous at the idea of it all. We think it sounds pretty cool-  as long as messages aren’t emblazoned across our foreheads.

Updated: We just talked to Clara from Vitamins Design, and she sent us this cool video about the project, and how it could all work. See more at her website.


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