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Human Computer Interaction

A team of German scientists have developed a way to make very thin temporary tattoos called SkinMarks that when applied to the skin, can function like a smartphone remote. Like other temporary tattoos, these "e-tattoos" can be applied to the skin using water, and will last for several days before wearing off. The new technology is a conductive ink is used to print wires and electrodes on temporary tattoo paper that's applied to the skin.

Users would be able to assign certain smartphone commands to scars, birthmarks and other body landmarks. "People intuitively know the location of their own bumps and birthmarks, which makes them ideal locations for touch-sensitive buttons," says Martin Weigel of Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany, who led the research. In theory, squeezing a freckle could answer a call or rubbing a scar could turn up the volume on a phone.

Why it matters: Convenience and cost. Cheap, seamless integration of technology like this could have a big consumer base. Chris Harrison, an Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon, tells New Scientist that while it will be at least 10 years before we see e-tattoos used mainstream, on-skin devices are "the next logical step in wearable technology."

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

4 hours ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.