In the very near future, you will be able to have trackers and smart electronics printed on your body instead of having to use wearables. In fact, researchers at the University of Minnesota have used a customized 3D printer to print electronics on a real hand. The portable printer cost less than $400.
As Michael McAlpine, the study’s lead author explains:
We imagine that a soldier could pull this printer out of a backpack and print a chemical sensor or other electronics they need, directly on the skin. It would be like a ‘Swiss Army knife’ of the future with everything they need all in one portable 3D printing tool.
The printer can adjust to small movements of the body during the printing process. It uses a specialized ink make of silver flakes that cure and conduct at room temperature. The electronics can be simply peeled off or washed off with water.