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Displays Technology

Skin-Based Display Screens From Nanotech Tattoos 200

Posted by timothy
from the your-epidermis-is-showing-a-movie dept.
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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Skin-Based Display Screens From Nanotech Tattoos

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  • Allright!! (Score:4, Funny)

    by SalaSSin (1414849) on Monday April 20, 2009 @04:16AM (#27643049) Homepage Journal
    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: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Starayo (989319)
      It's typical, really. I just [i]got[/i] my first tattoo, and then they tell me about this.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Starayo (989319)
        Damn you, bbcode.

        The one time I forget to preview...
    • by fractoid (1076465)

      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.

      • by AlecC (512609) <aleccawley@gmail.com> on Monday April 20, 2009 @05:47AM (#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".

        • by tsm_sf (545316)
          ob.goatse
        • by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:33AM (#27643673) Homepage Journal
          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.

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

            it was 30 for renewal, not 21

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by flink (18449)

              The age was 21 in the novel, it was raised to 30 for the film to broaden its appeal or to make the portrayals by older actors more believable. I've heard both explanations.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by cayenne8 (626475)
              "as someone who went to MANY many birthday parties for 30 year olds at lazertag centers- it was 30 for renewal, not 21"

              Not in the book....it was 21.

              I'd highly recommend the book..is a short read, but, quite a lot better than the movie. The way the 'gun' works in the book is so cool, and worth the read alone. Hehehe...you never want a 'homer' fired at you....

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          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.

          • by arcsimm (1084173)
            You were reminded of the Diamond Age, and didn't even stop to think about the Drummers? shifting programmable nanotattoos were one of their defining features

            Well, that and massive orgies leading to spontaneous combustion in the name of data analysis.
        • by LoRdTAW (99712)

          Even worse, Goatse.

          Imagine some dude on the beach with a fresh new digital back plate unwittingly displaying hello.jpg. *shudders*

          And god help the poor soul who has their animated ink hacked and is walking around displaying meat spin.

    • 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.

      Plus, when she starts bitching about the naked woman tattoo you can claim your wireless tattoo must have gotten hacked by someone and you have no control over what is being shown!

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      I've always liked the idea of a tattoo, but the thing with a tattoo is that you always have to think "Oh sure I may think this is awesome now, but what will I think in twenty years?" I have yet to find a tattoo where I imagine twenty-years-senior-me isn't looking back on present-day me and shaking his head, sadly, as if ashamed to be the same person and saddled with their choices.

      You'd think this would be the answer. And hey, maybe it is, if there are very careful and deliberate controls. But as a genera

      • by Miseph (979059)

        Seriously? It's just an anus, I can understand being shocked by it, but some people talk about goatse like it killed their puppy. You shouldn't have to "unsee' anything, just get over it.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday April 20, 2009 @04:20AM (#27643079)

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

    • Oh the possibilities

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

      • ...I'm wearing a full-body tattoo of clothing!

        As soon as the cop turns away, the tattoo can morph to a new form, perhaps au naturel but exaggerating one's finer points. Or try au naturel of the opposite sex, if you're wierd enough. That might spook the cop out completely - is it public nudity, a porn show, or performance art?

        But it's probably only old fat hirsute gargoyles who'd dare do this.
      • by houghi (78078)

        The v1agr/\ adds might be difficult to read the moment they might be most effective if they are in the palm of your hand. I mean , well, uh, you know.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by __NR_kill (1018116)

      This could actually bring a whole new meaning to STD.

    • by howman (170527)
      I am so going to write a device driver virus for these things and call it Logan.
      • by MindKata (957167)
        "I am so going to write a device driver virus for these things and call it Logan."

        While you are writing the virus, others will be earning a fortune selling software and hardware upgrades to do things like...
        (A) Military Camouflage - Suitable for all terrian with optional real time Cameleon/Predator mode.
        (B) Medical sensors - Go to the doctors. They ask were does it hurt, and you point them to the bit thats flashing red!, then you bring up a full sensor and diagnostics display.
        (C) Sell advertising spac
    • Yes and shareware tattoos. Which will have shareware version only written across them once the trail period runs out.

  • by kubitus (927806) on Monday April 20, 2009 @04:22AM (#27643081)
    The Illustrated Man coming alive!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)
      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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      And here I was thinking Rorschach. :-D
  • Camouflage (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sakdoctor (1087155) on Monday April 20, 2009 @04:23AM (#27643085) Homepage

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

  • by Norsefire (1494323) * on Monday April 20, 2009 @04:26AM (#27643103) Journal
    but most Geeks don't have a high pain threshold.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Starayo (989319)
      Speak for yourself, I like chilli and cats and just got a tattoo without moving at all. :P
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by fractoid (1076465)
        So true about cats. Some of them just don't get the concept of "kneading your lap is hurties".
        • by supernova_hq (1014429) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:44AM (#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!
    • by Merls the Sneaky (1031058) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:57AM (#27643803)

      Are you joking? A tattoo hurts a lot less than regular high school beatings or unrequited love.

  • by tatermonkey (1199435) on Monday April 20, 2009 @04:27AM (#27643105)
    Its only a matter of time before someone figures out how to get porn on it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      What would be the use of that if it's on the inside of your palm?
  • Should we... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 20, 2009 @04:36AM (#27643145)

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

    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      Why not just store everything in your calculator?

      Its what the rest of us do

  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Monday April 20, 2009 @04:39AM (#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 ! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Macka (9388) on Monday April 20, 2009 @04:50AM (#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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by newcastlejon (1483695)
      Just give me a shout when I can have a watch like Wu's.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zrq (794138)

      Would be really neat to have this in our lifetime.

      Therin lies a problem ... the human lifetime as compared to the rate IT technology is changing. Whatever you got implanted today would be out of date within a year. You either have to continually upgrade (which would probably involve more surgery, because the latest implants would not be backwards compatible with yours), or you get stuck with the equivalent of a 800x600 display tattooed into your arm when everyone else has 1920x1200 HD and surround sound.

  • Hands-on (Score:3, Funny)

    by Mr. Moose (124255) on Monday April 20, 2009 @04:55AM (#27643229)

    Where can I get some hands-on experience with this technology?

  • by Eric Smith (4379) <eric@brouhaha. c o m> on Monday April 20, 2009 @05:01AM (#27643275) Homepage Journal
    wristwatch without the watch, for a long time now.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Um, like a bracelet?

    • ..as most nerds know, it's not a real watch unless it's a calculator watch.
    • by bughunter (10093)

      You're modded funny, but I'm taking you seriously because I feel the same way.

      I've avoided tattoos my entire life not because I think they're ugly or unwise, but because a) they're permanent, and b) I can't think of anything important enough to imprint permanently on my skin. But a practical device like a chronograph, or a blood sugar monitor, would be more than sufficient to make me get one.

      And to the sister reply: Add some means to provide input, like a keyboard or numpad, and I'd be one of the first. P

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Monday April 20, 2009 @05:09AM (#27643313)

    This cant be healthy.

    • by samurphy21 (193736) on Monday April 20, 2009 @05:48AM (#27643477) Homepage

      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: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ColdWetDog (752185)

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

        I suspect that rejection or attack by your mother would be the issue here.

      • by Mab_Mass (903149)
        And, of course, the obvious foreign substance routinely permanently inserted into the body - tattoo ink.
    • Bone [sciencedaily.com] doesn't seem to mind at all. They do make mention of immune response, however.
  • ...of the possibilities the porn industry could come up with.

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ZeroExistenZ (721849)

      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. In

  • So how do I sign up? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by guyminuslife (1349809) on Monday April 20, 2009 @05:22AM (#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.

  • by KlaymenDK (713149) on Monday April 20, 2009 @05:38AM (#27643437) Journal

    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.

    • Flamebait?!? Is there a TSA with mod points around here or something...?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by feitingen (889125)

      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 was at the airport with one of those t-shirts with a working clock on it. I boarded with no problems, but as they were to take off, (i am not making this up) they announced: "Please turn off all mobile phones, laptops and t-shirts"

  • I'll wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Capt James McCarthy (860294) on Monday April 20, 2009 @05:41AM (#27643449) Journal

    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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aladrin (926209)

      "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.

      • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Aqualung812 (959532)
          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?
  • by Anonymous Coward

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

  • I think I read about this somewhere before... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Diamond_Age [wikipedia.org]
  • Obligatory (Score:3, Funny)

    by IceCreamGuy (904648) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:15AM (#27643581) Homepage
    "I can't wait until the tattoos on Amy's butt hear about this!"
  • Police Documentation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KneelBeforeZod (1527235) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:43AM (#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.
  • by Millennium (2451) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:54AM (#27643783) Homepage

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

  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Monday April 20, 2009 @07:13AM (#27643879)
    One step closer to Ghost in the Shell's brain hacking becoming an everyday reality!
  • Yes, they are thinking about possibly being able to, at some point in the future, have the theoretical ability to create smart tattoos.

    All they need to do is create an intelligent ink, that is bio-compatible, and that can be switched in color by some as-yet undeveloped method, along with some form of bio-compatible computer that could be implanted to control the ink, some bio-compatible means to connect the computer to the ink, some bio-compatible power source, and some way to interface to those components.

  • We currently have a problem with old displays and cellphones filling up landfills with toxic materials because these devices are obsolete after a year or two. Just wait until planned obsolescence hits the bionic world. Landfills full of arms, legs, heads, organs, and poor people in the rest of the world will be sewing on body parts discarded by rich wasteful Americans.

  • This doesn't bode well for people with skin-shedding fungal problems, does it?

  • ... they have also experiemented in implanting a digital tattoo in the palm of a persons hand flashing it red when they are sub-optimal in age... ... they have also done extensive research into selective breeding where an additional digital tattoo on the chest (Just below the neck) indicates which individuals are in your required breeding program...

  • While dynamically updatable tattoo displays are interesting for output, one could achieve 90% of the tattoo value using an eInk, and externally applying an electrostatic pattern gadget to "print" the tattoo pattern.

  • I mean it.

    Read them.

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