A Wearable, Embedded Tattoo Concept, Designed to Make Life Easier

Arts & Culture

An interview with the designers of Fitbit, NewDealDesign, on the future of wearables

Michael Ellenbogen
  • 4 november 2014

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with NewDealDesign, a design consultancy and the facilitators of Fitbit, and ask about the future of wearables, based on a recent piece produced by Fast Company, where NDD unveiled its concept for a digital tattoo that can be implanted under the skin – marking the transition from wearables to embeddables.

With the rise of the desire to track and monitor ourselves comes the culmination of devices like Fitbit, UP by Jawbone, and other wearables, to help people gain deeper insight into their daily lives.

As electronics get smaller, lower powered and vastly more sophisticated, they are also becoming more intimately incorporated into every aspect of our lives: our work, health, family, community, and ultimately our sense of self.

NewDealDesign’s focus around the wearable of the future sits at the nexus of the different facets of our identity, seamlessly integrating into our lives at the most personal level: under the skin.

The notion is that an embedded wearable can capture constantly evolving information about an individual. Not just who they are at the moment, but who they are over time and across multiple contexts.

In order to plan and design for our evolving informational world and the individuals that accompany it, NewDealDesign constructed a tattoo-like embedded wearable that rests underneath the skin, in an unobtrusive, safe manner. It was created to help the enhancement of our lives on an emotional level, like feeling sensing, as well as for functional purposes, like safety and locks.

The design theme is predicated on four key touchpoint areas:

Dynamic Authentication: Authentication can be based on basic data combined with history and behavior — a block-chain of personal information rather than discrete unrelated data points.

Context Determines Function: A wearable that can identify an individual and also knows the time and place of the individual’s needs.


Expressive Technology: An embedded wearable is, quite simply, an extension of the self, and should be just as individual and expressive as the self.


Accurate Biometrics: A healthy life is not simply a ratio of activity vs idleness. An embedded wearable knows biometric information that is truly aligned to health and wellness.


The ideas are the brainchild of Jaeha Yoo, designer and Director of Experience Design, and his team, who attributed the work to making life easier and more seamless through the understanding of human touchpoints.


The functional inspiration for the design stems from three main facets:

Under the Skin: There is not a more intimate place for a wearable than under the skin. This location is ideal for facilitating life functions and expressing identity.

The Hand As Interface: The hand is the interface between the individual and the world. The hand performs work, communication, expression and authentication.

Modalities: An individual is defined differently in different contexts: a person may shift from mother to coworker to authority figure to partner in the course of a day. A wearable should have modalities that are suited to the multiple contexts of an individuals’s life.

Although a large idea in nature, the concept is meant to be relatable to life, not dystopian; a vision the team thinks has the ability to materialize in the not so distant future.


+wearable tech

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