What if you could print circuit “tattoos” right on your body? While the idea of augmentation with a pre-assembled electronic sticker isn’t new, the technique proposed by a team of KAIST and MIT Media Lab researchers takes things to a new level.
Their small BodyPrinter device — composed of a custom 3D-printed plotter with a movable head and a mounted extruder — can be strapped directly to multiple body parts, including fingers, arms, back, stomach, forehead, neck, laps and shoulders. After a little calibration, it deposits conductive ink on a “liquid bandage” substrate that’s already attached directly to a subject’s skin.
The BodyPrinter is controlled by an Arduino Uno and CNC shield, and a number of experiments with the resulting circuits have already been explored. A quick overview of the system can be seen in the video below, and more details are available in the team’s paper.