Imagine having a tattoo in your body that you can control from your own smartphone. Change up your tattoo art, show important messages, or just erase your tattoo altogether for that important job interview. Well, the future has arrived... thanks to groundbreaking subdermal E Ink technology, we have been able to develop the world’s first E Ink tattoo.
Electronic Ink is an incredible technology. Prior to E Ink’s development, a dynamic image display required a constant current of electricity, inevitably tying the longevity of the display to the power source. Like any other implantable wearable technology, adding a display to our body has been limited by the requirement on battery power. E Ink changed this by providing a medium that consumes energy only when the content of the display changes, not requiring a current to maintain the image on its display. The result is that we can create a screen on our skin that displays information with very little energy usage.
The revolutionary subdermal bistable 2 pigment E Ink display system is implanted using the same method by which permanent tattoos are implanted. By placing the E Ink microcapsules right below the epidermis, the color-switching capsules can be seen through the skin, creating a grayscale display along a 4-inch by 6-inch area of the forearm.
We combined the subdermal display with a Freescale Kinetis K50 microcontroller unit and Nordic Semiconductor nRF8001 Bluetooth IC to create the first real-time connected display built into our bodies. The screen is controlled by our smartphone application via any Bluetooth 4.0 compatible iPhone or Android device.
So far the E Ink companion application supports the following modes:
Switch your tattoo anytime you want! Load up tattoos from the growing database of tattoo art straight to your body. Show off your mood, or load up that risque tattoo you’ve always wanted and clear it before you get to work the next morning.
Who needs an Apple Watch if you can have all the same information displayed directly on your body? Sync up the current time and date, battery level, upcoming calendar invites, and OS notifications (such as number of unread emails, SMS and missed calls). Stay on top of your playlist with Spotify, iTunes and Pandora integration that shows the current artist and track name, as well as player progress. You won’t miss anything urgent, since your tattoo will display incoming calls and SMS messages for 30 seconds after an incoming event.
Stay on top of your running and biking stats with real-time Strava integration! The display shows off all your current activity, such as activity time elapsed, current speed/pace, 60-second speed/pace history chart, and heart rate. If you’re rocking out to Spotify, iTunes or Pandora, the display also shows the current track and name of next track.
As you can see there are many areas of application for the E Ink tattoo technology. We’ve been trialing this for the last half year, and are excited to be releasing it as a product over the coming months. The product will be delivered as a surgery kit that can be implanted by any tattoo artists with a basic medical background. Get ready for the E Ink Tattoo revolution!
E Ink Tattoo Display Specifications
- Freescale Kinetis K50 Microcontroller Unit
- Nordic Semiconductor nRF8001 Bluetooth v4 low energy curcuit
- Quallion QL0003I Li-Ion battery array
- Pizeoelectric (kinetic) battery charger
- Hermetically sealed titanium case
- 16-color grayscale e-ink bistable subdermal 2 pigment system
- Android and iPhone applications for Bluetooth 4.0 compatible devices
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.