edited May 2016 in Prosthetics, wearables, and haptics
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. "
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I'll be really interested to hear/see the results of any tests :)
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.
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....
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.
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.