When a person gets a tattoo, the goal is often to immortalize an image on the skin with no other function than to simply look beautiful. But what if you could take it to the next level and breathe new life into your tattoo beyond just inking it into your skin? There’s something to be said for pieces that utilize the world around them, inviting the interaction of another human or device.
The simplest form of interactive tattoos can take the form of a puzzle you can solve or a game you can play; all you need is a pen and a willing partner. Think word searches, connection points, mazes and the like; all of the above are still images, but can be constantly manipulated in everyday life. Undoubtedly, you will be the most fun game of the party, when people start filling the tic-tac-toe board on your passed out body.
On a larger scale, modern tattoos go above and beyond by incorporating technology into their schtick. More and more innovative tattoo ideas are coming to the fore, from QR codes that can actually be scanned, to representations of sound waves that can be linked to an app that plays an audio recording. Green screen tattoos are also a popular choice as they are capable of rendering any image or video you want using appropriate software. You can even get a marker tattoo that will trigger an augmented reality program, where you can use the keys on your tattoo to interact with the virtual environment. All in all, this work completely pushes the boundaries of what tattoos are capable of, and it looks like we’re only seeing the beginning.
The power that tattoos have in the modern age seems endless. In recent years, researchers at MIT and Harvard Medical School have explored a new type of tattoo: a biosensor tattoo that can make a person’s skin interactive. For people with chronic conditions, the need to puncture their skin to monitor glucose levels multiple times a day is an undeniable burden. To mitigate this, researchers are exploring the possibility of a biosensor ink that changes color when fluid levels rise or fall, indicating the need for drugs such as insulin. Although this outlook is still in development, it certainly indicates all the revolutionary features of tattoos.
All of these pieces are great examples of the ever-evolving ways of blending art and technology, not just for entertainment purposes, but for potentially life-saving reasons as well. By adding more layers to the traditionally static art form, we are constantly transforming it into something previously unimaginable.