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Forget smartphones and watches. DuoSkin, a new product from Microsoft and the MIT Media Lab, can turn your epidermis into a touch pad. Or a remote. Made with naturally conductive gold leaf, DuoSkin places a technological interface directly on your body. One potential application would include a Bluetooth-like chip so wearers could sync their temporary tattoo to a music system, then swipe it to change volume. Another version changes colors. The process is designed so people can customize both form and function for a tattoo that lasts only a day. The goal, says lead researcher Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, is to create technology that’s as personal as lotion or makeup, so “it really blends into the wearer’s identity.”

–Julia Zorthian

This appears in the September 05, 2016 issue of TIME.

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Write to Julia Zorthian at

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