Every day it seems like we’re living in a Neal Stephenson book more and more. While the thought of tattoos that change via technology is not necessarily new, this is the first time that I’ve really seen someone illustrating the concept in a video. And on top of the sexy video, the people behind this are none other than Philips.
They describe this project as such:
Tattoos and physical mutilation are amongst the oldest forms of personal expression and identity. Subcultures have used tattoos as a form of self representation; a visual language communicating personality and status. Philips Design examined the growing trend of extreme body adornment like tattoos, piercing, implants and scarring.
The Electronics Tattoo film expresses the visual power of sensitive technology applied to the human body. The film subtly leads the viewer through the simultaneous emotional and aesthetic transformations between two lovers.
While the video really touches on the possible sensuality of a tattoo that changes with arousal and emotion, there are also practical applications for something as incredible as electronic tattoo ink. Imagine a simple text display created in electronic ink. Nothing more complex in display than a character LCD. Add bluetooth (or some other form of wireless) support to that with a small implant. Now you can display any text you’d like. Use your cell phone to pull the latest weather, sports, stocks, RSS feeds, or subjects from your emails as they download. Your latest twitter scrolling across the nape of your neck, or perhaps the song currently playing on your mp3 player. Or more importantly, serious medical information that provides EMTs with life-saving info right on your chest. The possibilities are endless, and not really that far off.
In fact, way back in the dark ages (1995) there were some people that had a similar idea. There is a patent filed by Andrew J Singer and Sean White from Interval Research Corporation in Palo Alto, CA. This patent is for an implantable and programmable LCD that might actually be possible with today’s advances in technology. Unfortunately Interval Research closed their doors in June 2006. *sigh* Maybe we’ll have better luck with Philips in 15 years.