Conductive makeup activates gadgets with an eye or a fingernail

Credit: Beauty Techie

Blink, and you'll miss how that girl with eyeliner was able to activate a drone just by winking an eye. Wearable technology, no longer relegated to just smartwatches and glasses, can now be applied with a brush or found in a nail polish bottle thanks to the power of conductive makeup.

Using common beauty items like false eyelashes, nails and eyeshadow, computer scientist Katia Vega was able to develop a way to infuse conductive elements and sensors to turn ordinary makeup into gadget-activating remote controls. When the eyeshadow is applied to both the top and bottom of the wearer's eye, a longer than half a second, exaggerated blink will cause the sensors inside the eyeshadow and metallised fake lashes to connect and complete a low-voltage circuit.

The resulting wink has successfully launched a miniature drone and activate an LED headpiece, with infinite possibilities for other low-voltage applications, like switching a musical track or a presentation image. Vega also experimented with false nails that allowed the wearer to DJ by controlling the music with just the surface of a pool of water and her nails by "Aqua-DJing."

The Beauty Tech nails can also be possibly embedded with tiny RFID chips to conveniently unlock a door, shop at the supermarket or even scan for your metro ticket with the tap of a well-manicured finger. Vega's "Gimmickiano" air-piano project had a musician play notes by linking nail sensors to a special belt for the ultimate faux-keyboard airplay.

Since beauty products are already a familiar, real-world staple, using the completely safe conductive makeup has definite potential for everyday conveniences. Vega said the beauty booty simply enables "using our body as a new input device." Vega is currently in talks to ready her products for a commercial market. In the meantime, we''ll just have to make do with our normal, suddenly boring, sensor-less beauty products. Pretty, but lame!

Katia Vega, via New Scientist

For the latest tech stories, follow DVICE on Twitter
at @dvice or find us on Facebook