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"I realized there was a heavy-duty change coming in biology, and I could write a really compelling novel about catastrophic evolution, punctuated equilibrium."
- Greg Bear

Readout Skin  
  Normal-appearing skin that can be used as an output device for text or graphics.  

If they can make artificial skin, why can't it do more than just keep my internals internal?

Call me old-fashioned. I'm the only reporter I know who still uses his handwriter except to take notes…I snapped the fingers of my left hand… Three rows of four colored dots appeared on the heel of my left hand. By pressing the dots in different combinations with my fingertips I was able to write the story in shorthand, and watch the loops and lines scrawl themselves on a strip of readout skin on my wrist, just where a suicide would slash himself.
From Steel Beach, by John Varley.
Published by Ace Putnam in 1992
Additional resources -

Compare to signal skin from Iain Banks' 2004 novel The Algebraist.

Now, let's take this idea a step further. If you had readout skin all over your body, you could change your tattoos whenever you want. If you had readout skin covering your upper body, you could output appropriate graphics that looked like you were wearing a suit (haven't I seen a t-shirt like that?)

Artificial skin? Here's how Integra works:

The inner layer of INTEGRA® Dermal Regeneration Template is composed of pure collagen (protein) fibers from cows and glycosaminoglycan (a natural component of human skin) made from shark cartilage. When placed on a wound where burned or scarred skin has been removed, INTEGRA Template provides the needed framework for the blood vessels and dermal skin cells to re-grow into a new skin layer. The silicone outer layer temporarily closes the wound to ward off infection and control fluid and heat loss.
Read more at www.skinhealing.com.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Steel Beach
  More Ideas and Technology by John Varley
  Tech news articles related to Steel Beach
  Tech news articles related to works by John Varley

Readout Skin-related news articles:
  - Skin Cells Genetically Modified To Fight Infection
  - Skinput Uses Your Skin As An Input Device
  - Stretchable Electronic Skin Input Device Video
  - NailO Thumb-Mounted Mouse Needs John Varley's Help
  - Cicret Interactive Skin Display Prototype

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