At first glance INKO is a rather low-tech iPad case but in fact it houses a unique keyboard within its leather. The idea was originally conceived by designer Alexandre Echasseriau and is the result of a collaboration between three seemingly unrelated crafts: tattooing, leatherwork and tech hacking. Electronic conductive ink has been tattooed into the embossed leather case which allows its textured surface to pass keystroke data to the iPad itself.
A section of the leather was embossed by David Rosenblum using an especially made plate to make a keyboard of raised lumps. These domed nodules serve as physical keystrokes when pressed as they make contact with the tattooed circuit board below. The keystroke signals are then sent to the encased iPad via bluetooth.
Although tattooer Jéremy Lorenzato worked on the first INKO case, the job of tattooing a circuit board onto further cases turned out to be far too repetitive and labour intensive for the artist. Instead a tattooing machine was created by a trio known as ‘Appropriate Audiences’, whom modified 3D printer to apply the conductive ink.
Read an interview with Alexandre Echasseriau here about the project on the website of Bare Conductive, the makers of the Electronic Paint used in the INKO iPad case.
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