biosafe luminescent tattoo

edited July 2015 in Everything else
Alright, so I know is more about improving the human body's capabilities, but I'm looking for a more aesthetic mod. Would a piezoluminescent tattoo be possible? as in, a tattoo that glows under pressure? or something similar? I've seen the black light tattoos, but I'm looking for something that could produce light without another light source. Doesn't have to be invisible under normal conditions, I just would really like a tattoo that could produce light. Piezoluminescence was my first thought, although there may be safe/more suitable ways to exhibit luminescence in human skin. Another idea I had was radioluminescence, as I know certain radioactive materials are used in watches and gun sights, but I doubted these radioactive isotopes would be safe under the skin, and cancer would be a major concern... 
Honestly, this will probably be more of a theoretical discussion, as I doubt I'd be able to get the required materials to make a glowing ink, and if it was easy it'd already be out there.

So I'm looking for a non-toxic, non-carcinogenic material that could be suspended in a tattoo ink, and wouldn't stop working after a short time. I could see redoing it after 10-15 years, as the luminescent material would probably wear out, but I want it to be a viable option for a long term effect.

Edit: Changed title from "bioluminescent tattoo" to "biosafe luminescent tattoo" for accuracy.


  • edited July 2015
    Piezoluminescene seems to be a fairly small research field and as such Im not finding much on it that's useful. If i could find more info then it is possible we could think of a way to do it but it'd be bloody difficult. But who knows, could be a problem with a simple solution. Producing light without another source requires energy. The light can't come from no where. Usually for something perpetually glowing this takes the form of radiation. Not something you want in a tattoo. Your other option is make it a very complicated particle that had some sort of system embedded on it that allowed it to harvest energy from glucose in the surrounding tissue. But making that whole thing biocompatible would be a nightmare. Do I want to do this? Oh god yes more than anything. Do I think it's possible in this form? Not. likely but maybe. 

    Your other option, and this one is new and weird is to use a genetic modification but that's at best scketchy and at worst cancer. You can use a nanoparticle to deliver a little plasmid or something, some small dna package. Any cell that takes it into the nucleus will start producing that protein (maybe) which could be a protein that uses some aspect of the cells metabolism to get the energy to glow. If you had the delivery by nanoparticles such that they are taken up as the body heals lots of the new healing tissue should have the dna too. 

    I could go on for much longer. The point it it's a humungously complicated project, just as much as the earlier option. Now a non toxic uv tattoo is just on the horizon with the advent of new dyes and stuff. But yes a reactive tattoo is the end goal. It's just gonna require some clever chemistry that I don't know.
  • Also check the Gene Tattoo thread, the Fluorescent Glucose Monitor thread, and the Functional Tattoo threads (all searchable from the upper right hand corner search area).

    @chironex is correct tho, your major issues comes from your source of energy...
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