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Bill Gates

Software magnate and Microsoft co-Founder, Bill Gates predicts that electronic tattoo will in the future replace smartphones

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Software magnate and Microsoft co-Founder, Bill Gates has predicted that an existing technology will in the future replace smartphones.

The author and philanthropist in his submission is referring to an electronic tattoo, a new technology he projects to replace the modern-day mobile device.

But before we go on, what is an electronic tattoo?

An electronic or digital tattoo is not a normal medical tattoo as they are not permanent. They are temporary tattoos outfitted with electronics like sensors or what is known as Near Field Communication (NFC) chip. An electronic tattoo also has the digital footprints of a person, that is, it can gauge the permanent nature of a person’s nature, itinerary with actions and communications taken online, brought into cognizance.

Electronic tattoo

An electronic tattoo can also be used for tap-to-pay methods that allow users to identify themselves while paying for goods and services at NFC-enabled points of sale (POS) without having to carry any device or wallet.

The tattoo often metallic with an antenna has the major design of a graphic image that covers a small, flexible NFC chip on the skin of the wearer, in cases small enough to fit on a fingertip. The chip is laced with a small amount of memory that can be accessed with the use of a smartphone app, with the tattoos having the lifeline of lasting up to a week, costing little more than a standard temporary tattoo, chip included.

Bill Gates Company, Microsoft had in a partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) harped on a digital tattoo project that is laced with varieties of pathways. The project created a device that can last a day on a charge, while offering a number of types of antennas for different uses and communication ranges. The design gives thermally changing colours that can be used to show the user’s body temperature. More complex digital tattoo designs can be used as touch screens, among other possibilities.

But Bill Gates in his recent admission of other uses of these digital tattoos was actually referring to the electronic tattoos developed by Chaotic Moon, a Texas-based software design and Development Company focused on software, mobile development, and design. The Chaotic Moon tattoo uses a biotechnology-based technique that aims to analyze and collect information from the human body through it.

The electronic tattoos developed by the  American creative technology studio is a high-tech one that can embed electronics into one’s skin as the developer uses a tattoo ink that is made of conductive paint to create a circuitry take in health and other biometric data from the body and the surroundings.

The tattoo kit of the company which had its first prototype in 2015 will like FitBit, Jawbone or Apple Watch collect and upload data related to the wearer’s health and environment, sending it seamlessly to any device or entity.  The tattoo still in the development phase will be applied temporarily on the skin, with small sensors and trackers that send and receive information through a special ink that conducts electricity.

Bill Gates, seeing the functionalities of these electronic tattoos is envisaging a future where the use of sensors, trackers, and other wearable devices akin to digital tattoos can be used to communicate, send messages, and make phone calls.

The Microsoft Chief Executive sees the early implementation of the Chaotic Moon futuristic device as a worthy replacement for the present-day smartphone.

Imagine not having to hold a phone in your pocket or hand to send a message or make a call to that person but having the device ingrained in your skin, having the opportunity to abide by your beck and call. Well this is what it all means

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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