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LED Tattoos

Charlie Sorrel has an article at Wired exploring the potential development of LED-lit tattoos. New chips are small enough to be placed under the skin, mounted on a sheet of silk that dissolves into the body:

New LED tattoos from the University of Pennsylvania could make the Illustrated Man real (minus the creepy stories, of course). Researchers there are developing silicon-and-silk implantable devices which sit under the skin like a tattoo. Already implanted into mice, these tattoos could carry LEDs, turning your skin into a screen.

The silk substrate onto which the chips are mounted eventually dissolves away inside the body, leaving just the electronics behind. The silicon chips are around the length of a small grain of rice — about 1 millimeter, and just 250 nanometers thick. The sheet of silk will keep them in place, molding to the shape of the skin when saline solution is added.

These displays could be hooked up to any kind of electronic device, also inside the body. Medical uses are being explored, from blood-sugar sensors that show their readouts on the skin itself to neurodevices that tie into the body’s nervous system — hooking chips to particular nerves to control a prosthetic hand, for example.

Chips are already used inside bodies, most notably the tiny RFID tags injected into pets. But the flexible nature of these “tattooed” circuits means they can move elastically with the body, sitting in places that a rigid circuit board couldn’t.

The electronics company Philips is developing the idea, and you can see a concept video of their work at the link.

Link | Image: flickr user spacemanbobby

Imagine how cool it would be if the doctor could get get stats on your pacemaker just be reading your chest. I see a lot of medical and law enforcement uses for this. :p
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Ha! I've been a reader and a commenter here for years so imagine that small-world feel when I see my best friend Bob's tattoo. I'm sure he'd love an LED tattoo. :)
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The possibilities are endless - including the negatives. Just think how much more annoying spam and pop-up ads would be when they're literally under your skin. Having your circuits hacked or picking up a Trojan horse would be maddening, too. Not to mention accidentally running the wrong app in a public place.
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WOW!!!!! My Tattoo for the lead in on the story. :) Thanks for using it, I am honored.

As for future techno Tattoo's, I am all for it as long as it doesn't diminish the personal feelings for getting a tattoo in the first place.
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Spooky science. Not sure I would want something like that under mys skin, but then again I can see it being real cool once it was perfected.
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