Today's tattoos are boring. Future tech will bring:

  1. Bioluminescent tattoos: using bioluminescent chemicals, your tattoos will glow or pulse, either all the time, or synchronized with a clock, or triggered by movement or light or sound. Imagine going to a dance club with this.
  2. E-ink tattoos: with e-ink particles embedded in your skin, you'll be able to change the pattern by applying an external array of electric fields. You'll place the “printer” on your arm, apply a new pattern, and then it'll hold that pattern until you want to change it.
  3. Biosensor tattoos: with e-ink particles attached to a layer of biosensor molecules, you'll be able to find out what's going on in your blood. You'll set up blocks that are sensitive to 50, 100, 150, 200 mg/dL of glucose, and then by seeing how many bars are “lit up”, you'll have a rough estimate of your blood sugar. You could do this for everything in your bloodstream.

Cool? or creepy?

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Ilya wrote at Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 3:24:00 PM PDT

3: definitely cool

Anonymous wrote at Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 2:01:00 PM PDT

#3: Definitely cool or at least potentially very useful.

#2: This would potentially get more people interested in tattoos as then they wouldn't feel chained to having exactly the same thing for the rest of their lives. That's one major reason why I don't get one now since I don't have anything I feel particularly strong about all the time. This would also make identification by tattoo useless, though that may be neither good nor bad.

Anonymous wrote at Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 5:31:00 PM PDT

The health implications of existing tattoo technology are not well understood enough to recommend something like this. Some research points to weakened global antioxidant (GSH) status in those with tattoos. Some pigments used in existing tattoo technology cause increased free radical damage when exposed to light. So, understanding the health risks of new-tattoo technology is probably the first step here. Hello lab rats.