Nano Tattoos

Nano Tattoo

Being forgetful, I frequently find myself writing reminders on my hand or anywhere else I can. This past week I wrote and rewrote the same word on my left hand every day, and I still forgot when it came time to remember. However, my hand still shows faint ink marks, which are now lingering and constantly reminding me of how forgetful I can be.

Thankfully, the invention I need to eradicate this dependence on a pen and my hand is in the works. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has been working on what they are calling “nano skins,” a composite of nanotubes and polymers. Their invention is flexible and thin enough to fit underneath the skin, without losing the ability to conduct electricity. That’s a lot of work for something so incredibly small. With these attributes, the potential real world applications of the technology are simply awesome.

Among the uses envisioned for the "nano skins" are facial or hand displays. These displays would be synched to a WPAN, or Wireless Personal Area Network. (Yes, you would become wireless.) There would be a display driver implanted to receive signals and allow you and others to communicate wirelessly. This would allow you to send information about remembering things instantly or communicate to someone else discretely, receiving a friend’s text to your hand instead of your phone. However, upgrading your texting capabilities is not all that this display driver would be good for. You could also have the option to communicate back to your friend your mood. That way, they won’t have to ask how you are doing; they can just take one quick look and know. Unless, that is, you’ve forgotten to update it, then you would literally be sending mixed signals and your friends may not appreciate that.

Will I still forget to remember? I envision a texting set-up similar to my computer’s calendar. A timed notice would appear conveniently on my hand saying: 15 min till you have to call so-and-so or 1 day till you need to bring work cupcakes.

In a similar vein, a "nano-skin" project concept is being probed for feedback by Koninklijke Philips Electronics. They provide a video vision of what the digital tattoo may look like if programmed to react to sensual interaction or interaction in general. The video is located at their website. The video gives an absolutely beautiful interpretation of a way to utilize the tattoo as a sensual enhancement, showing the tattoo appearing and then disappearing through the couple’s interaction. Overall, the company is to be congratulated for exploring a desirable implication of this technology that has me wanting one of my own.

If you take the sensuousness out of the video interaction and replace it in your imagination with the same individuals at a crowded concert or party, their bodies would be a swirling cacophony of art, possible attuned to the music, or sensitive to every bump they receive from fellow concert/party goers.

Having viewed this video several times and looked at their artistic conceptions of digital tattooing, I’m enthusiastic. This is one enhancement I would not want to miss out on. Non-verbal communication, personal reminder on-hand, and an interactive tattoo for when I’m bored and want to watch it swirl…. sign me up.


1 Response

  1. Vincent Klerkx says:

    Dear Kristi

    Currently I’m doing a design project on nano tattoos. I am making up scenarios and saw you already thought of some of my ideas two years ago ;). I was wondering if you also studied the case (I’m an industrial design student from the technical university of Eindhoven, Holland). If yes, I would like to ask you some questions about the subject.
    Is this possible?

    Vincent Klerkx

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