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Skin-Based Display Screens From Nanotech Tattoos

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the your-epidermis-is-showing-a-movie dept.

Displays 200

destinyland writes "Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York is developing flexible nanotubes inserted under the skin to create a handheld display — inside your hand. They wirelessly receive data and display reminders and text messages, and the concept has also been broadened to suggest endlessly programmable digital tattoos, while Netherlands-based Royal Philips Electronics is also exploring the concept of the body as 'a platform for electronics and interactive skin technologies'." That middle link is quite old, but is still loaded with interesting links.

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200 comments

Allright!! (4, Funny)

SalaSSin (1414849) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643049)

Finally a way to change my tattoo every time i feel like it, and get rid of my gf's complaints that she doesn't want me to have more tattoos.

Re:Allright!! (2, Funny)

Starayo (989319) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643211)

It's typical, really. I just [i]got[/i] my first tattoo, and then they tell me about this.

Re:Allright!! (1, Funny)

Starayo (989319) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643231)

Damn you, bbcode.

The one time I forget to preview...

Re:Allright!! (0, Offtopic)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643467)

Yes, bbcode is one of the most useless inventions. After all, it's just selected HTML tags written with different brackets. I cannot see the advantage of writing [i] instead of <i> (or even the usually more correct <em>)

Re:Allright!! (2, Insightful)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643481)

I guess it helps that you can just blindly reject everything in the original post that resembles html, and then only generate the html you explicitly allow from the BBCode. That way you're preventing some funky attacks. Of course, implementations might or might not produce further errors...

Re:Allright!! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643567)

Well, that's as easily done by just blindly replacing any < with &lt; and every > with &gt; (thus automatically disabling any HTML tags) and then handling sequences like &lt;i&gt; just like you would handle [i] with bbcode. As an additional advantage, such an implementation wouldn't just silently remove anything which remotely resembles an HTML tag, but just change that into an "inactive" text form which most likely was intended anyway.

Re:Allright!! (4, Funny)

bugnuts (94678) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643589)

And then you make sure the tattoo display device renders the sanitized html correctly. (for all those n00bs who thought this went off-topic)

Re:Allright!! (2, Funny)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643699)

Well, [ & ] can be hit with a single key, whereas < & > require the shit key to be hit as well.

The one thing I hate about typing (especially when programming), is how many times I have to hit that god damn shit key. My left little finger starts to hurt a lot when I've been programming for a while.

Re:Allright!! (3, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643769)

Well, [ & ] can be hit with a single key, whereas require the shit key to be hit as well.

Well, my keyboard doesn't have a shit key. I understand that you wouldn't want to touch that quite often. Maybe you should get one with a shift key instead. :-)

BTW, I never understood what problems people have with pressing shift. I don't have any problems with it (not even when writing German, where there are a lot of upper case letters). OTOH, on German keyboards, the [ and ] characters are some of the hardest characters to type: You have to press, at the same time, the AltGr key (on US keyboards there's the right Alt key at that position) and the keys 8 resp. 9.

Re:Allright!! (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643409)

Finally a way to change my tattoo every time i feel like it, and get rid of my gf's complaints that she doesn't want me to have more tattoos.

You have a tattoo of a buxom blonde overlaid on a heart with a scroll saying "Lucy"... wait, now it says "Cherry"... huh? She's now black haired and thinner and she's called Liza... dude I think you need to check your firmware.

Re:Allright!! (5, Funny)

AlecC (512609) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643471)

The possibilities for hacking other people's tattoos are frightening. You can hardly go around keeping a continuous watch on them, especially on your back. Imagine going to work at school labelled "Crack $5/bag".

Re:Allright!! (3, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643673)

I wonder if these palm electronic 'tatoos', could be federally mandated to look like a 'crystal', and change color every 7 years of your life. At 21, it could blink when you are on lastday, before you have to turn yourself in for sleep.

Hmm....shoot, I'll be we could transform the DEA into a group called sandmen, you know, just in case you decided to 'run' and not turn yourself in for sleep.

lasertag (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643737)

as someone who went to MANY many birthday parties for 30 year olds at lazertag centers-

it was 30 for renewal, not 21

Re:lasertag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27644009)

21 in the book, 30 in the film.

Re:Allright!! (2, Interesting)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 4 years ago | (#27644041)

The possibilities for hacking other people's tattoos are frightening. You can hardly go around keeping a continuous watch on them, especially on your back. Imagine going to work at school labelled "Crack $5/bag".

This reminds me of a book: The Diamond Age

In it, a character describes how some people get their eyes cyber-ized so they can have HUDs and such for information, aiming etc.

However one guy he knew had his HUD hacked so that it would always show him catfood commercials, even when his eyes were closed while he tried to sleep, and he couldn't get anyone to remove the code. It eventually drove him to suicide.

This is the reason why the character used older-model goggles.

Great for pr0n (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27643063)

....I'll get my coat....

Re:Great for pr0n (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27643245)

Is there a way to mod the Redundant rating Redundant?

Ohhh... can you imagine the hack possibilities (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643079)

If you thought fun with programmable road signs was something, wait 'til tatoo hacks become the new fad!

Re:Ohhh... can you imagine the hack possibilities (3, Funny)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643421)

Oh the possibilities

- Wash me
- Kick me
- Buy cheap v1agr4
- ...
- Profit!

Re:Ohhh... can you imagine the hack possibilities (1)

howman (170527) | more than 4 years ago | (#27644023)

I am so going to write a device driver virus for these things and call it Logan.

Ray Bradbury will be delighted (3, Insightful)

kubitus (927806) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643081)

The Illustrated Man coming alive!

Re:Ray Bradbury will be delighted (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643095)

Camouflage for the skin. Couple it with a camera to get an idea of background textures.

Incidently the audio on one of those pages was creeping me out. I'm sitting here listening to Neil Young and suddenly I get these creepy sound effects over the top. I had to hunt around through workspaces and tabs to find the source.

Camouflage (5, Interesting)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643085)

Implant this under all exposed skin and a solider could have camouflage patterns turned on/off and changed for the terrain.

Re:Camouflage (1)

bronney (638318) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643097)

Just hope your enemy do not shoot your "cactus" for fun. Dude you've never been in a sniping position and got eaten alive by mosquitoes eh?

Re:Camouflage (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643493)

What's the point in that? He'd either have to carry both desert and urban camo (for middle-east incursions at least), and swap half way through, or they'd have to be butt-naked all the time.

If you think the latter is a good idea, I hear the Navy is also looking for recruits.

Re:Camouflage (4, Insightful)

bentcd (690786) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643635)

What's the point in that? He'd either have to carry both desert and urban camo (for middle-east incursions at least), and swap half way through, or they'd have to be butt-naked all the time.

If they can put this in skin they can probably put it in clothes too.

Re:Camouflage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27643547)

But he'd have to run around nakid....

Re:Camouflage (2, Funny)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643821)

Implant this under all exposed skin and a solider could have camouflage patterns turned on/off and changed for the terrain.

I can only imagine the stories...

"So there I was in the women's shower room..."

Re:Camouflage (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643873)

Because in war it's such a bright idea to have much skin exposed?

Sorry, some camouflage make-up applied to the parts of the face you can't hide seems like a lot simpler, cheaper, more reliable and simply superior in all other aspects.

This nice sounds nice (4, Funny)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643103)

but most Geeks don't have a high pain threshold.

Re:This nice sounds nice (2, Funny)

Starayo (989319) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643221)

Speak for yourself, I like chilli and cats and just got a tattoo without moving at all. :P

Re:This nice sounds nice (2, Funny)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643415)

So true about cats. Some of them just don't get the concept of "kneading your lap is hurties".

Re:This nice sounds nice (4, Funny)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643729)

Dude... If you fall asleep on my couch, the cat will extend her paw 2 1/2 feet in the air (over the arm rest), sink her claws into the back of your skull, and then pull them back out again.

Scares the living shit out of you the first few times!

well........ (5, Funny)

tatermonkey (1199435) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643105)

Its only a matter of time before someone figures out how to get porn on it.

Re:well........ (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27643215)

What would be the use of that if it's on the inside of your palm?

Should we... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27643145)

Without reading the article, should we assume this kind of technology can be used to help college student cheat on tests?

Re:Should we... (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643169)

Why not just store everything in your calculator?

Its what the rest of us do

Re:Should we... (1)

Bruce McBruce (791094) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643301)

Examiners can take away your calculator, though. Besides, you could text message your friends during an exam and have their answers show up on your hands.

Re:Should we... (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643891)

I envision some type of scanning device built into a pen or your palm that could be used to send information out faster.

But Im not sure if I could trust my friends to get the answers correct.

Re:Should we... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643543)

You'll probably have to wear gloves and long-sleeved clothes in tests. The test gloves and clothes will be supplied by the school so you cannot use some with built-in features.

It gets interesting when they start to provide displays directly in your eyes (maybe even without any light, just directly activating retina cells).

A Cautionary Note (5, Funny)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643155)

If programmable digital tattoos catch on, it might be a good idea if the data feed in your "handheld display" was used to ensure that the name in your tattoo matches the name of the person you're with.

OCtattoos ! (4, Interesting)

Macka (9388) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643213)

This reminds my of the futuristic OCtattoos (Organic Circuitry tattoos) that Peter Hamilton makes use of in his Commonwealth Saga [wikipedia.org] stories.

They're described in the Wiki as:

OCTattoos (Organic Circuitry Tattoos) are also a major technological device. These are tattooed on the skin and resemble colourful, often metallic tattoos, and serve hundreds of purposes from transferring credits to serving as sensors. Their main function is to act as processors for other implants (which may function at reduced capacity if an OCTattoo is damaged).

Would be really neat to have this in our lifetime.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27643219)

I can't wait to hack my co-worker skin

I've been wanting this for a... (4, Funny)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643275)

wristwatch without the watch, for a long time now.

Re:I've been wanting this for a... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27643499)

Um, like a bracelet?

Re:I've been wanting this for a... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27643553)

I've got two. They're called 'wrists'.

Awesome tech.

Futurama anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27643303)

When are they adding sound to that thing?
http://theinfosphere.org/Talking_Tattoo

Immunse systems do not like foreign objects. (2, Interesting)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643313)

This cant be healthy.

Re:Immunse systems do not like foreign objects. (5, Interesting)

samurphy21 (193736) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643477)

There are many biologically neutral materials that are safely implanted into the body all the time. Titanium pins for repairing bones. Pacemakers. Composite plates for skull injuries. These are just medical examples. You get into the "body modification" crowd and you start seeing stainless steel, neobium, and nylon implants and piercings.

I suspect that rejection or attack by white blood cells are not an insurmountable issue here, but I'm not a doctor.

Re:Immunse systems do not like foreign objects. (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643507)

Bone [sciencedaily.com] doesn't seem to mind at all. They do make mention of immune response, however.

Re:Immunse systems do not like foreign objects. (1)

DerCed (155038) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643573)

Hip implants, pacemakers, piercings, screws, RFID chips (pets), etc.
It's not like objects have never ever been placed underneath the skin :-)

Just think.... (1)

quarkoid (26884) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643321)

...of the possibilities the porn industry could come up with.

Hmmm. OK. On second thoughts, don't.

Re:Just think.... (2, Funny)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643839)

of the possibilities the porn industry could come up with.

So, you're going to project a naked body on a naked body?

Or are you going to render certain acts on certain patches of skin to simulate the experience? But it would be only possible by brutally handled and have a sheet of this material inserted on that patch of skin. As I suspect, that part of the sheet should be flexible as well if you would want to try to simulate a certain experience..

What lenghts teen nerds go to simulate a certain experience. Invest that effort in spacetravel of some sort and stop watching pornography and thinking of ways to come closer to the "real experience virtually". :)

Although, nerd hornyness has brought alot of innovation. We should breed farms of horny nerds, and put "challenges" in front of their porn-consumption, like a certain cypher for access or a certain patternrecognition to be hacked. Worldhunger would be solved overnight and we would have instant singularity.

So how do I sign up? (4, Interesting)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643363)

I can be a very willing guinea pig, lab rat, et cetera. Just tell me where to sign!

Yes, the prospect of long-term, irreparable skin damage is nothing next to the coolness of having the dermatological equivalent of animated GIFs. And I mean that sincerely.

Re:So how do I sign up? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643425)

Just wrap your 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th fingers in a <blink> tag and hold your hand up. Hilarity ensues. ;)

Re:So how do I sign up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27643851)

While I agree enthusiastically, we have to beware of accidental goatse...

and coming next (1)

mrkuji (971270) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643399)

with these and that new speaker film.. can we have futurama tatoos that abuse you and others... imagine your shoulder telling you that you are a big fat loser... ahh technology

Good luck at the airport (4, Insightful)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643437)

Good luck with that the next time you're at the security check at the airport. Pacemakers they know about, but with people getting withheld due to t-shirts with *images* of electronics, this thing is just asking for trouble.

I'll wait... (4, Insightful)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643449)

It all sounds cool...for a movie or a fad. The next thing you know you have to keep your virus defs up to date or your tatoo will be throwing up all kinds of unwanted pop-ups. If it can be 'reprogrammed,' that is just a freq that manipulates the nano devices, then it can be maliciously altered as well. I still don't understand the fascination with putting electronics in the body (medical reasons notwithstanding). And there is already an issue with people being tracked and watched. They tie the screen to your vitals and it will glow green if you are telling the truth or red if you are lying. It will tell folks your current medical status. _IF_ that is what you want.

Re:I'll wait... (2, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643491)

"I still don't understand the fascination with putting electronics in the body (medical reasons notwithstanding). And there is already an issue with people being tracked and watched."

Not everyone is as paranoid about the government spying on them as you. Don't get me wrong, your paranoia helps the rest of us by keeping the government straight... But we don't also need to be paranoid for that to work.

Re:I'll wait... (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643511)

I don't think it's paranoia that I was trying to convey. I didn't limit by statement to Governments. Every time you use your credit card, your purchase is tracked and that information is used by advertising and manufactures. Yes, it does help producers to target consumers needs, but should it be so targeted?

Re:I'll wait... (2, Insightful)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643877)

Why not? I've noticed I've seen fewer ads for things that I won't EVER buy for myself (Tampons, etc), and more for things I will buy (cycling gear, xbox games).
Can you let me know what the problem is?

Re:I'll wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27643649)

I tip my tinfoil hat to you, sir. Your paranoia surpasses even that of my own, the Anonymous Coward.

mod Down (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27643509)

What provides the To die. I will jam here, but what is Whatever path is contributed code not going home we get there with AAshole about.' One

If this becomes mainstream... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27643525)

...then somebody is going to try to put DRM on it. I'd love to see that court case...

Fairly old, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27643565)

I STILL WANT ONE!

There were also talks about just making a magnetic interface for other devices that could be strapped onto the arm to send health details and stuff like that.

I'd rather wait a while on this one to be honest, the detail is low, as well as the color from what i remember.
When they can make it run at least 100x100 screens with 8 bit color, then i'd be happy.
Throw in a touch screen and brain interface for the processor and i'd never need another computer again.
That's it, PCs are finished.

Pussy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27643647)

You think a girl could get this thing in her pussy? Render all sorts of colorful artworks on it during sex? Or what if tonight you are in for a bit of pink pussy? No problemo, just fire up the pussy tattoo.

Re:Pussy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27644025)

I was thinking "animated tramp stamp," but you sort of beat me to it.

Police Documentation (5, Interesting)

KneelBeforeZod (1527235) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643723)

Hypothetically, if this were to become common. It'd force police to rethink how they document and identify distinguishing marks on the body. Or a gang member being some kind of double agent and switching inks from one gang to another. Its the stuff of scifi. Makes me think of The Illustrated Man of Ray Bradbury.

Re:Police Documentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27643793)

Smart criminals wear those stick-on tattoos you get with bubblegum.

Bitchin'

Scott Westerfeld (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27643733)

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series. The "Pretties" have these things.

This is yet another case of life imitating science fiction.

What I really want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27643771)

Ew! Also: Awesome. But I certainly would prefer a less invasive version, like, oh, something I can spray on. Even if I have to re-spray once a week or something, I'd prefer that to a permanent tattoo, no matter how changeable.

Voice command? (4, Funny)

Millennium (2451) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643783)

If they could figure out a voice-command interface to this, "Talk to the hand" could get a whole new meaning.

The Beast (1)

Porchroof (726270) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643923)

Now, I guess, the Beast can make his mark interactive. (For the ignorant, refer to The Revelation of St. John the Divine.)

they tukk my ideeerrr (1)

evolx10 (679412) | more than 4 years ago | (#27643981)

No but seriously i came up with this long long ago in my days of staring at stucco walls that were at the time very interesting. Mine were not super nanotubes though, just molecules that imitate those people in crowds that put big cards over their head to form a larger image.

What happens when after a little practice/meditation the owner of these electronically responsive tattoos gains control of them! We could be like cuttlefish people. The possibilities are endless. Oh oh nano-repair tubes that you can actively control to quickly clot and temp repair lacerations, but otherwise chill in your dermis eating free radicals from the sun.

Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27643985)

"Nano Skins" Show Promise as Flexible Electronic Devices -- Published March 1, 2006

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