Origins | Spring 2014

Page 27


Alex Vosburgh

Technology has helped our civilization advance in every area, and body art is no exception. From using needles to deliver ink under the skin, to the utilization of different pigments and colors, to rapid action tattoo machines, tattooing has aged well in many cultures. However, when the topic of tattoos comes up, one of the first things that comes to mind is their permanency. Whether it’s the main draw or the deal breaker, that facet tends to be non-negotiable. What if the next major leap in tattoo technology was able to bridge this gap? Many are looking at the future possibilities of tattoos, coming up with ideas such as electric tattoos that would communicate with our phones and other nifty gadgets or even a device just beneath the skin that would allow the user to change the design of a tattoo at will. Such a device would come with a huge degree of personalization and options. Grow tired of a particular design? Change it. Want to tweak what you currently have? Feel free. Got a job interview? Wipe it blank for the day. Some may stick their noses up at the fact that this doesn’t follow tattoos in the traditional sense, but there’s no arguing that this device would be highly convenient. Plus, it would open up body art to a larger audience of people who may otherwise not be interested. Electronic tattoos also have a lot of potential, in more practical ways than you might think. Imagine this: instead of having to put in an annoying passcode or swipe pattern every time you want to look at your phone, you instead have a tattoo

that is unique to you that your phone automatically recognizes and allows you to access it. Instead of having to remember increasingly complicated passwords, you could instead sync your accounts with the digital signature from your tattoo. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to added security, these tattoos could provide increased interactivity with your digital devices. Enhanced voice commands and even the potential to listen to music without the use of headphones are both likely possibilities. And the best part is: the tattoos could even be removable, utilizing flexible adhesives as opposed to permanent dyes. These adhesive ‘tattoos’ also have medical applications. Simply attach one, and instantly data about your health could be sent to your phone. With an appropriate app, you could see how different activities affect you and find out what to be wary of. Parents could even use the app to check up on their children in real time. Users could also potentially sign up to send their bio-data to a research center for future studies. This type of mass data collection would do wonders for the scientific community, providing tons of data in an extremely efficient manner. The implications of such a feat are great to speculate about, not to mention other possible applications. Who knows what may be next for the world of tattoos and body art in general? An implant that gives the user control of the very color of their skin on a daily basis? A solution that causes the skin to become transparent? Maybe the next big innovation will even come from you! u Origins Scientific Research Society

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