ZOMG E-Tattoos.


Just in case anyone thought these things were real.

" If you've read this far, thank you! This post was created to inspire
readers about what could be possible one day with wearable technology.
We've heard from many of you who want to license or use the Electronic
Ink technology. While many components of this solution exist today, the
subdermal e-ink technology is fictional and does not exist today as far
as we know. "


  • You can now change your one regretible college tribal tatoo into several different tribals making it a regretible life decision instead. Jk this would be pretty cool for strict attire jobs maybe not as a changing tatoo but as a vanishable one
  • edited August 2016
    How much would that cost? I really interested in this.... Also could I implant under the tattoo?
  • I just have to point out that this OP was saying it's fake.
  • I knew that just seeing if you did.... How would wireing work on something like that anyway?
  • >jokes on you I was only pretending to be retarded
  • If it sounds too good to be true ...

    I had heard the term E-ink before but never looked it up to see exactly what it was. 


    I wonder if something similar could actually be made to work as a changeable tattoo?  Say instead of using electricity to wirelessly move the ink particles to the surface, they were magnetically charged North and South.  Then, a special (external) device could be used to align the ink particles into a design or to "erase" the image by sending the black ink to the bottom deep enough to not show through the skin.

    Maybe something similar to a magna doodle toy?

    Not as cool as what the video above showed but maybe possible a little sooner.
  • The problem isn't so much the how to move them but rather how to move it through your skin/meat. Remember tattoos work because it makes tiny holes for ink to heal inside of. To move it you would need more tiny holes to form.

    If you could implant a small screen instead it would be another thing all together with its own issues. (There's a thread on that already)

  • FroFro
    edited August 2016
    I could be wrong but the way I understood eink was that it was "particles" (which contain the pigments) held between a membrane which then delivers the electrical charges to change the state, but also acts like a grid to only charge individual "particles". It also isolates them until they are required to change again using another charge.

    In that sense since the pigments inside the particles are the "moving" part surely they could be tattooed on.
    The issue I see is having the pigments react in a controlled way. As hypothetically speaking if negative charge = black and positive charge = white you would need to deliver a negative charge to all the particles to turn them black but then you would have to isolate the particles so no other electric charge can change them without you wanting.

    Again everything above can be disregarded if my understanding/assumptions on how eink functions is incorrect. I did only look this up when the first kindle was announced and have slept since then.
  • So your saying it could move with no resistance through the skin? If that's true then why would they not move out of that location?
  • The pigment wouldn't have to move at all. Each pixel in the above image is a transparent ball with the black and white pigment inside it. It would be theoretically possible but very impractical.

    I am surprised that there are no tattoo inks that can be broken down (e.g. with high level of UV) so that at least bad tattoos are erasable. I suppose nobody intends to get a tattoo they'll regret!
  • Ok I see what your saying Fred. It would for all intensive purposes be a rectangle of black that when electricity and data is added it will change to said thing removing the issue of movements.

  • There are also inks that trigger with thermal variations, for instance you can buy note books that can be re-used often simply by putting them in the microwave for 30 seconds - all the text is erased.

    Actually the text is still there, the ink just goes clear, putting it in the freezer brings it back. 

    A tattoo that you could make go away by blasting your skin with a cloth soaked in hot water or 30 seconds under a hair dryer might be nice especially if you could turn it back on by rubbing the skin with an ice cube.

    Not exactly programmable but an interesting effect.

  • http://www.pilotpen.eu/en/the-pilot-spirit/technology-innovation/the-excellence-of-the-inks/

    Thermosensitive Ink
     A new
    generation of gel ink which becomes invisible as a result of heat.
    Initially coloured (black, blue, red...) the thermo-sensitive ink
    becomes transparent above 60°C. Thermo-sensitive ink pens therefore have
    a special tip allowing the paper to be heated quickly without damaging
    it. Conversely, a temperature of less than -10°C makes the ink reappear.
    Changes can be made as many times as you wish.

    60°C or 140°F is pretty hot for applying to your skin and -10°C or 14°F is pretty cold.  A trip to Staples might get you some pens to play with.  Drawing the "Tattoo" on the skin should be easy enough to test it out.  I suppose the pens could be ripped apart and ... Well, test it first. 

  • @Birdhandz yes thats the one.

    I was not thinking of using that specific ink in a tattoo but raising the idea of something similar - obviously it would need to be non toxic and it's switch points would need to be closer to human tolerance.

    But it might be interesting to draw on the skin and do some tests I think the heat would not be too much of a problem hot against skin is ok if it doesn't stay for too long, but domestic freezers only go about -10 to ice from them might only just work...


  • edited August 2016

    I hadn't thought of the ink possibly being toxic.  Something similar to this ink could be a very popular thing if it could be made to work as tattoo ink.

    I couldn't find for sure that the ink is non toxic but this site says that they DON'T contain any toxic solvents.  It also answered the question about if the pen or the stuff written is exposed to high temperatures like in a hot car.  Cooling it should restore it.

    To me that means that the ink might be able to be autoclaved to sterilize it and then cooled to make it visible again.  That wouldn't help if the ink itself is toxic (which I haven't determined yet) but could be something to test.

    The pens used for their intended purpose sounds like a good idea.  I don't know if they are actually at the stores or if they need ordered online.  One review says they are refillable.  Hmm.  Yep, Ebay had a single refill for only $2.  I ordered a violet one.  Coming from Taiwan (plus the seller is away until early next month) so it will be a little while but I'll let you know how it works.  NOT as an actual tattoo but at least if it can be erased and restored on skin.

  • Toxicity is tricky there are many chemicals that are non toxic even when swallowed but become toxic introduced to the blood.

    The other side of that the ink may break down if used in a tattoo - Human skin has it's own salts, oils and acidity to content with. 

    A tattoo is also deeper in the skin than ink on the surface, so the heat/cold needed to activate/de-activate will need to be greater for a tattoo than a surface test.

    I tend to think the formula could probably be adjusted for different temperatures tho...

    I'll be really interested to hear/see the results of any tests :)

  • I was thinking could something like this me made as a fluid under the skin? So like a 50% conductor ,16.6% red, 16.6%green,16.6% blue lumens. Or little beads suspended in something conductive and cut it back to a 50/50 ratio of conductor to lumens or one better make the beads conductive with a lumens filling.... If that made no sense let me know I will try and explain its a different way.... Maybe the beads could even be filled with the ink that y'all are talking about....
  • edited August 2016
    I don't really understand your idea but wouldn't it still need electrodes?  Maybe the skin itself could be the top electrode but the bottom electrode would need implanted and then powered somehow.  How would you determine which color was visible?

    Would the beads bio-proof the ink and contain it in case it was toxic?  Could they be implanted using a tattoo gun without damaging them?

    I did find an MSDS for the FriXion pens.  I'll admit I don't really understand it all but it looks like they contain 1% Triethanolamine which has LD50 4.92 ml/kg (rat).  Again, I don't really understand that but I would think you would use a lot less than 4 or 5 ml of the ink and it only contains 1% of that chemical.  Plus I weigh a little more than a kilogram.  It did say that it contains NO Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Cadmium, Chromium, Lead, Mercury, or Selenium.

    I'm sure they don't expect you to inject it under your skin or even eat the ink so I don't know if it would be toxic as a tattoo ink or not but I think it would be safe enough to draw ON your skin and leave it on long enough to see if it can even be erased with heat and then restored with cold.  If that doesn't work, there would be no reason to even think about trying it under the skin.
  • edited August 2016
    The tattoo gun is the big question, the idea was that they would be LEDs tint microscopic even and the conductive outer coating would be the "bottom" electrode. (I used quotes because ordination would not matter....) as for which colors fire I was thinking a pulse at different voltages, what is that really a clock circuit? As for firing one green but not the other I have no clue.... Yet.... I also read about this on popular mechanics today: maybe a injected computer instead of a implanted one? I know I don't see that happening either....

    Hey I had another use for these could these be used to make a HUD contact? just add in some sort of self healing silicone....
  • I went to Staples yesterday and picked up a pack of the FriXion erasable pens.

    First, I tried it out on paper using the heat from a stove's pilot light to "erase" the ink.  That worked great and the ink really does vanish with heat or by rubbing it with the pen's rubber eraser.

    Next, I tried using an ice cube to bring the color back.  I had to put the ice cube in a plastic bag to keep from wetting the paper.  It did come back but not as dark as the original.  Wetting the paper doesn't seem to wash the ink off or make it run but it does wipe back off skin easy.

    I don't know how many times it could be repeated with the same ink but it erased and returned several times during my testing.

    Then, I tried it on my skin by scribbling on the palm of my hand.  It is hard to get the ink on the skin with the pen because I had to apply a good bit of pressure but I got some on my hand.

    I placed a plastic bag over the ink to keep from washing it right back off and heated a wet paper towel up in the microwave.  I tried several times to "erase" the ink with the heat but it must not have been hot enough.  Any hotter would caused actual burns instead of just being painful so the idea to use THIS ink for a tattoo is not going to work.

    If it could be reformulated to erase at a lower temperature it could work but not the way it is now.

    Those pens are pretty nice though and a great idea.  Obviously, they wouldn't be good for writing checks or anything you want/need to be permanent but for a lot of things, it is nice to be able to erase and fix any mistakes without needing whiteout or damaging the paper.

    I did try sticking the paper in a microwave and it didn't heat the paper enough to erase the ink.  Using a bowl of hot water like a clothes iron did erase it but, if you look closely, it is still visible.  Probably mainly because of the indentations on the paper.

    Oh well, it was worth a try and, like I said, they are nice pens.
  • edited September 2016
    @birdhandz, I did some research into a slightly similar project, incase any of the information there helps you out at all. ^^'

    I don't know if anything will be useful, but incase it is. ^^ Likewise reading this one for anything new. :3

  • edited October 2016
    Wow, this is unbelievable... If something similar comes to us it would be amazing! And the fact that you can change you tats every day, or just leave it as it is, or have a non-static tattoo... it's just unreal. Today we can only talk about 3D tattoos and some other variations. Btw, the 3D one look nice, like this one:
    But we can't just change them
  • edited November 2016

  • Btw, the 3D one look nice, like this one:
    I don`t see any 3D effect here (sorry, perhaps I can`t estimate this tattoo because don`t like such aggressive ideas). Everything depends on the tattoo artist. I like these sunflower works even without 3D technique
  • Btw, the 3D one look nice, like this one:
    I don`t see any 3D effect here (sorry, perhaps I can`t estimate this tattoo because don`t like such aggressive ideas). Everything depends on the tattoo artist. I like these sunflower works even without 3D technique
  • I've thought it'd be cool to have practical tattoos, medical information, blood type, known allergies, etc... or other things like a sort of tattoo printed map of implants, anything that serves a purpose beyond just being ornamental.

    I do like the e-ink idea, but said e-ink particles are far larger than tattoo ink particles are and may not be received by the immune system the same way. I'd sooner think you'd be able to implant a flexible display screen. With today's technology anyways.
  • I'm surprised nobody brought up microfluidic computing.  In theory, you could attach a substrate to your arm that contained lots of very tiny droplets of water containing food coloring or any other desired liquid and it could more or less function as a display.  If you've ever seen a close-up video of microfluid chip, then you'll know what I mean when I say they "dance" ..

  • That link appears broken. @decal
  • @Jupiter the thing that make tattoos permanent is their size. So the bigger particles will just be better in terms of permanence. 
  • I do believe that if the "particles" got big enough they would never become enveloped by the phagocytes and would instead end up being pushed out of the skin as something akin to a small metal splinter, else it may just drift about for a while. I'm not saying it's not possible, just that there's things to consider.
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