Electronic tattoo display runs on blood

Tattoo display
The tattoo display: "Waterproof and powered by pizza."

Jim Mielke's wireless blood-fueled display is a true merging of technology and body art. At the recent Greener Gadgets Design Competition, the engineer demonstrated a subcutaneously implanted touch-screen that operates as a cell phone display, with the potential for 3G video calls that are visible just underneath the skin.

The basis of the 2x4-inch "Digital Tattoo Interface" is a Bluetooth device made of thin, flexible silicon and silicone. It´s inserted through a small incision as a tightly rolled tube, and then it unfurls beneath the skin to align between skin and muscle. Through the same incision, two small tubes on the device are attached to an artery and a vein to allow the blood to flow to a coin-sized blood fuel cell that converts glucose and oxygen to electricity. After blood flows in from the artery to the fuel cell, it flows out again through the vein.

On both the top and bottom surfaces of the display is a matching matrix of field-producing pixels. The top surface also enables touch-screen control through the skin. Instead of ink, the display uses tiny microscopic spheres, somewhat similar to tattoo ink. A field-sensitive material in the spheres changes their color from clear to black, aligned with the matrix fields.

The tattoo display communicates wirelessly to other Bluetooth devices - both in the outside world and within the same body. Although the device is always on (as long as your blood´s flowing), the display can be turned off and on by pushing a small dot on the skin. When the phone rings, for example, an individual turns the display on, and "the tattoo comes to life as a digital video of the caller," Mielke explains. When the call ends, the tattoo disappears.

Could such an invasive device have harmful biological effects? Actually, the device could offer health benefits. That´s because it also continually monitors for many blood disorders, alerting the person of a health problem.

The tattoo display is still just a concept, with no word on plans for commercialization.

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Citation: Electronic tattoo display runs on blood (2008, February 21) retrieved 23 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2008-02-electronic-tattoo-blood.html
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Feb 21, 2008
That is just plain creepy.

Feb 21, 2008
If I was 18 I would think cool. Now, as above said, creepy.
get off my lawn

Feb 21, 2008
Awesome! I want one!

Feb 21, 2008
At last someone has gone one better
than Dick Tracy!

Feb 21, 2008
It's a concept, meaning it's not real.

Feb 21, 2008
That is just plain creepy.

Why? This kind of fear will be a huge issue in the next 30 years...

Feb 21, 2008
Does the display prevent any natural bonding between skin and flesh?

I want two :)

Feb 21, 2008
That's what I was wondering gishpupp. This is a really interesting idea. I'm not sure this particular application will ever take off, but I can imagine small med-alert tattoos that activate in response to a signal from a hospital or ambulance. It's like an alternative to being tagged with a radio chip:) (or wearing one of those goofy bracelets).

Feb 21, 2008
I agree with William2008 on the Blue tooth issue. Here is something else that might get under your skin... If this device displays a picture or video of the person who is calling....well, How many times do you think it would be inappropriate for a picture of a parent or relative to randomly appear on your body? Just think about that for a moment. Really think about it for a moment. It's kind of creepy.

Feb 21, 2008
One more thing for those of you wannabe Cyborgs out there... consider this... once you got some kind of potentially programmable black box(also remotely reprogrammable???) in you, you have NO WAY IN HELL to know what else that damm thing your powering with YOUR OWN BLOOD is capable of doing TO YOU, with out you having the slightest clue... until it's way too late, and probably not even then...

Before embracing something new and shiney, get a clue or two (or at least borrow one)!

Feb 21, 2008
I think I'll wait for the wearable one powered by body heat/motion. That way I don't have to wonder what cholesterol will do inside of it and eventually me when it clogs.

Feb 21, 2008
"A series of veterinary and toxicology studies, dating to the mid-1990s, stated that chip implants had "induced" malignant tumors in some lab mice and rats.

"The transponders were the cause of the tumors," said Keith Johnson, a retired toxicologic pathologist, explaining in a phone interview the findings of a 1996 study he led at the Dow Chemical Co. in Midland, Mich."
h ttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/08/AR2007090800997_pf.html

Need I say more.....

Feb 21, 2008
"A Bluetooth device(just as a cell phone)I belive radiates somewhere between two to five Watts... Think about it... and that cell phone you have up agianst your head constantly.."

Yes, how could my body ever discipate a few extra milliwatts of average power consumption? It's not like we evolved sweating and blood vessels to handle discipation of several hundred watts or anything.

Feb 22, 2008
please check your facts. I think all those who mentioned radiated RF power in watts are out by orders of magnitude. The bluetooth devices come in several power classes:

* Class 1.
Outputs 100mW ( 20 dBm) for maximum range. In this class, power control is mandatory ranging from 4 to 20 dBm. This mode provides the greatest distance.

* Class 2.
Outputs 2.5mW ( 4 dBm) at maximum. Minimum power 0.25mW (-6 dBm). Power control can be implemented, but is not necessary.

* Class 3.
Lowest power. Nominal output is 1mW (0 dBm).

Power control is only required in Class 1 devices to k

Feb 22, 2008
I like Loboy's ideas
And I think that the creator of this abomination DEMON STRATED it. That's right. Demon strate. That means it is real, just not ready for commercialization. Either that or there is a discrepancy in the article.

Feb 22, 2008
Hmmmm, let's see now... 1mW (0 dBm), minimum average power... multiplied by 24 hours, by 7 days a week, by 365 days/year... gee exposure sure adds up don't it. This of course this is ASSUMING the effect is additive, not expodental... Please see the article below Ronnie Raygun.


Feb 22, 2008
Total vaporware...

Feb 24, 2008
Wow. So much fear of the unknown....and quoting biblical verse .. wow.

It is a concept, it has no current development cycle, but it could happen. If you could ask people from a over a hundred years ago if they believed you could one day cook an entire meal in small metal box in minutes....what would they say about microwave ovens or TV or the Internet?

Lastly, you can't apply the concept to limitation or perception based on known products. It's not even remotely related to current cell technology, wattage, etc.

People were afraid of moving pictures when they first came out too.

Open minds people. Open minds.

Feb 26, 2008
I can easily see how this would freak people out but everything has to start from somewhere. Magic boxes that show moving pictures or other magic boxes that heat up my HotPocket are a tad different from sticking something under your skin and I think will take more time to become as mundane as the concept of cramming a metal stud through your earlobe. But I think someday things such as this will be pretty mundane once it can be shown that there is little to no health risk. And if it is cheap enough!

I have a selection of body rings here and there and the odd tattoo, but none of those things are electronic. I wonder though with all of the noise about electricity and RF tags, etc., how much RF or whatnot does a person with a pacemaker have to deal with? Do pacemakers increase cancer risks? Is is just the bluetooth or RF that is the Devil in this device? Are we not blasted with RF all the time just walking around?

Oh and Marivic, I cannot hear you over the sound of all that Bible thumping! ;-)

BTW, one cannot prove a negative so yes, I agree that the bible has never been proved WRONG. On the other hand it has never been proved RIGHT either. So if you want to add something other than screaming from the pulpit to this I'd love to hear it.

Feb 26, 2008
ooooo kay...
Back to the article. Since even the small trackers they put under dog's skin causes reactions (my rather large dog has one) I imagine quite a few 'rejection' issues with what will cover a large surface area. The concept is cool, though. Blood driven electronics. You can count me out of the Beta tests, though.

Feb 26, 2008
(you can't reason with someone who's abandoned reason; accept that they are a lost cause and move on)

Feb 26, 2008
It was not ment as an attack, so why do you continue preaching? As for reading "the book" ... which one would you care to believe in ... the bible, the koran, the tao ... etc etc etc we could debate them all ( in a different forum). If it helps you then great, im happy for you. I dont need to reconcile my mortality with an imaginary friend for grown ups. And um the jewish people's thoughts on diet were in place before the Levites were founded, so whose taboo is it? If you happen to think that man has not tampered or edited every book ever written for his own purpose then my friend you need more compassion than i can give you.

Back to the cool concept of this device, if it becomes viable with rejection or not I would still have one (not beta thanks HeRoze, good one)
the up-side of the device is potentially HUGE. Just pay your bill ... "they" might repo your arm or wherever you get it put p1ll. :)

Feb 26, 2008
This sort of device is merely opening the doors for a flood of similar devices in the future. The phone embedded into your body is a little odd, but the fact they have something like that working and running off blood is amazing.

And where exactly does God come into all this? This sort of technology is only against Christian morality if you're Christian. Science like this simply disproves most religious ideals, so the fact people are preaching here just shows they came to stir the pot a bit and have no interest or knowledge about proven science.

I myself have two tattoos inked permanently onto my skin and both are based around rebellious anti-Christian symbolism. The things they could do with this technology intrigues me and makes me wonder what other things they could do to the skin using our own fluids for fuel. If I'm going to Hell, I'll see all you Bible-bashers there.

Feb 26, 2008
At the rate at which technology progresses, I would imagine that this device(if and when implemented) would be outdated within a year..Neat idea tho

Oh and by the way, got those of you who have CLAIMED to have read the Bible, YOU SHOULD READ IT AGAIN.
"Let those of you without sin cast the first stone."

Feb 26, 2008
Why bother talking with people who are 100% set into some domga that they refuse to even consider alternate ideas? So much so that they like to pounce upon you just because one happened to wander off into a tangent just so they can sidestep any points you were making, someone who makes sweeping garbage statements like "science has disproven evolution" (please state the scientists and published papers that proved the THEORY, not the fact, of evolution was nullified) why bother talking to these people? Because I am an agent of the anti-christ and it is my job to confuse all of you away from the light!!!!!!

Yeesh I wish. Then I would not have to pay the wretched IRS their unconstitutional tax. I would just smite them with my fallen angelic powers. Umm and I have read the Bible. Why is it that when you read the boring thing and don't fall down worshiping the deity written about in it then believers just assume you have not read it? Shall we meet in real life and have you watch me read it? Then will you believe that someone can read the King James Bible and not become a Xian?

Ok back to the point of the article, as soon as the devil of "CANCER!!!!" can be shown to be nil I can see this thing being all the rage. I would totally believe that there would be some people who would want as much of their body covered as possible. Like people who get all over tattoos similar to the guy with the tiger body or the other dude with the lizard body.

This thing is a tad more invasive than a Prince Albert ring but if it is cheap enough and safe enough they will become commonplace.

I agree that the technology proposed here will become outdated fast, but the concept should survive. And whatever the technology is for a display under the skin it will catch on. Most probably just a thing for the fringe crowd, but body jewlery was once only for the fringe crowd too. Now you see stodgy businessmen with earrings and even the occasional nose ring! And who knows what they gots underneath the Armani suit!

Feb 27, 2008
I find it strange that religious fundamentalists use all the technology that has been at some time seen as evil and not mentioned in the Bible (add holy book), to tell us of the evils of some new technology.

I hope that Marivic ceases to use the 'devil's tools' in order to remain pure, likewise, not use cars, electricity, anaesthetics, or a multitude of items that had been developed by people with vision, rather than those with visions.

This concept is a good one, in principle, it uses energy provided by the host and could be used for a wide range of medicinal purposes, monitoring could be just one, application of local muscle stimuli, release of medication based on need - ie triggered by endocrine reactions.

Sysyphus, I don't think you will find a nil risk of cancer for anything, petrol, graphite, fat add a huge list of items that are known carcinogens that we use daily expose us to risks, just some are more or less risky.

Feb 27, 2008
Ok, very creepy!!! We all have heard of Big Brother, on so many levals, this will top many of the expirements that the Gov. wants and will do. And this has nothing to do with the sacred world of tattoing. I dont see very many positive things in this, whats wrong with what we use today? At least no will be saying, "Ahhh, i cant find my cell phone, my planner, my ipod, my palm pilot!!!!" "Oh, never mind, Its under my own skin......"

Feb 27, 2008
Also, why in the world would you want a cell phone (which has radiations worse than a microwave oven) underneath your skin (WITHIN YOU) when you can have it in your purse/bag away from your body. Also, did you read thoroughly how it would be connected to you?...Through an artery and a vein...THE BLOOD. Then they tell you it has health benefits? No way! Can you not see how this is deceitful and misleading. God knew about this hence Leviticus 19:28. (also to those who have a tattoo on thier body, ink is not suppose to be in your blood stream or your skin. It is suppose to be on paper. INK is toxic). He gave us a manual procedure, the Holy Bible. He did not leave us alone with nothing to fight evil. It is not just the CANCER or other side effects that I am trying to impart here, this is something bigger.

Well like I said, (and one of you said) what is the use of talking to you...imparting these messages from God when you are all fuming with anger. Hence, I leave you Mathew Chapter 7 verse 6. Please look it up!

Holy hell! Do you actually read what you write? You clearly know more about technology than any of these scientists, so why don't you send us all pictures of your many degrees and scientific accomplishments? While you're at it, please then explain why you've spent that much time studying and practising science when it speaks against your beloved God's teachings.

And I missed that part in the Bible where God speaks out against getting mobile phones implanted in your skin. Please refer me to the proper verse and chapter.

Feb 27, 2008
Marivic, you can quote all the bible chapters and verses you want and I would wager many of us here have already read them. They are simply meaningless for the most part. And what parts are not meaningless is simple common sense.

Kudos for the pearls before swine reference but is that how you speak in real life? If someone does not like the hat you are wearing do you say "Mat 7:1"?

And who said I was angry? I simply enjoy spirited debate. Especially with someone with intractable ideas. Flat-Earth believers are good ones to debate with too. I am quite happy actually :-)

Oh an to Ockhamsrazor, the part about preventing mobile phones in the Bible is in some of the non-canoncal text. I believe they were part of the dead sea scrolls ;-)

I believe friend Marivic is making a sweeping generality about the part in the Old Testament that states that one should not defile/alter/enhance the body in any way shape or form. Tattoo's, earrings, nipple rings, hair dye, nail polish, perfume, whatever are verboten. Of course some christian faiths take this to the extreme and will die before they get a blood transfusion so if one buys the whole "no body defiling" bit then the mere notion of implanting a cell phone under the skin is an anathema.

Of course these sorts of people are not the demographic that a company selling this device would care to market to so that's ok. I would assume there are many who do not get implanted RFID chips for much the same reason. I won't get one until the cancer risk is proven low as I agree with Brother Loomis that the risk can never be nil. Low is good enough for me so I can start my car with a wave of the hand! No more locking yourself out!

But the "something bigger than cancer" that friend Marivic speaks of is our immortal soul. That's ok. I don't want to spend eternity with Yahweh anyways. He seems like a real cranky sort. Give me Odin instead. Now he knows how to party! Valhalla!

Feb 27, 2008
It almost makes me sad you and I are on the same page when it comes to science and religion, Sysyphus. You'd be a fun challenge, and you know your stuff :)

I was raised 7th Day Adventist, and it was the simple act of READING the bible that made me throw it all away. Utter rubbish. I was being literal with my mobile phone comment, but I do know what you were referring to. But my understanding of defiling the body is to do something bad to it.

You aren't defiling your kitchen when you put in new benchtops or decide you want to put a phone in it so you don't have to run to the living room every time it rings and come back to a boiled over pot of peas. It's simply an upgrade! Hence telecommunications in the arm!

But common sense would tell anyone that the makers don't intend on commercialising this thing if long term study shows that there is a 90% chance of cancer developing from it. If it does become commercialised you can possibly bet that the risks are going to be low.

That being said apparently EVERYTHING gives you cancer nowadays. So just enjoy what you can before your cornflakes give you malignant tumours!

Feb 28, 2008
I have to disagree with them releasing it only if it's safe. Companies started advertising cigarettes knowing full well the health risks, and continue to sell them.

Also, those who have problems with their blood already may not want to use this. Even losing a small amount of oxygen is bad if I remember correctly. Lose enough and that part of the body dies. However I have no degree on the subject, so I'm willing to be proven wrong on that one.

Feb 28, 2008
Anybody else remember the ending to The President's Analyst?

Feb 29, 2008
"And I missed that part in the Bible where God speaks out against getting mobile phones implanted in your skin. Please refer me to the proper verse and chapter."

Siemens C35 v1? ;p

Feb 29, 2008
What happens if it breaks?

Feb 29, 2008
This is a very interesting concept, should prove to be interesting if and when it comes out onto the market.
as to the person who worrried about the oxygen and glucose requirements for the device to work, i don't think that the device would use all that much to power the fuel cell.
as to all the people that are getting worked up about the whole biblical whatsis, if it doesn't harm the body, there is no verse in the bible that condemns it, if it is merely a tool that has a small chance of causing harm, whats the problem. The verses in Leviticus are referring to the tatoos, brands, and piercings from back then, when the way of doing it would be unsanitary, and decidedly dangerous. please do not take biblical verses out of both conext from the book, and from their historical context.

Mar 02, 2008
Health benefits, my foot! Think of how the body rejects foreign objects/material. This is the dumbest "concept" I've heard yet; and from supposedly intelligent people.

I wonder if it monitors for allergic reactions and automatically dispenses an antidote. Either way, no thanks. With my history of allergies, I can imagine what would happen.

God doesn't need to speak for me; I can do that and I say "I pass". Don't mess with my body, skin and especially my arteries.

Don't count on it not coming to pass. It's as bad as the spychip they are pushing. I don't need to be tracked. I'd rather live in a cave than have all this "new technology" implanted in my body. Big Brother needs to lose the GREED and stop before we all become robots.
But then, maybe that's the plan.

Mar 05, 2008
Think of the benefits that this kind of technology would have for prosthetics. Now instead of those big bulky power packs you could have a sub dermal power source powering your shinny new arm or leg. Whats not to like?

Mar 07, 2008
Boy, he got this idea out just in time for the government to use it for national ID...can't you see this becoming a sure fire way to know the person with the info is the person when they have it embedded in their skin. yikes...time to pray

Mar 08, 2008
"And I missed that part in the Bible where God speaks out against getting mobile phones implanted in your skin. Please refer me to the proper verse and chapter."

Nothing about mobile phones here, but interesting nonetheless:

Rev 13:16 He also caused everyone (small and great, rich and poor, free and slave ) to obtain a mark [Gr. charagma, an etched stamp on the skin] on their right hand or on their forehead.
Rev 13:17 Thus no one was allowed to buy or sell things unless he bore the mark of the beast %u2014 that is, his name or his number.

Rev 16:2 So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth. Then ugly and painful sores appeared on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.

Jun 01, 2008
BTW, one cannot prove a negative so yes, I agree that the bible has never been proved WRONG. On the other hand it has never been proved RIGHT either. So if you want to add something other than screaming from the pulpit to this I'd love to hear it.

Never proved wrong...

So the Earth might ACTUALLY be 10,000 years old?
And it's all the animals lived within walking distance of Noah's house?
And virgins are giving birth left right and center these days.

Jul 20, 2008
Health benefits, my foot! Think of how the body rejects foreign objects/material.

Yeah, like pacemakers, stents, and cerebral shunts, just to name a few. Bodies reject those things every time!


Jan 07, 2009
Plus think about all the new stuff they are coming out with adjacent to this, but similar. Nanotechnology? They already have many nanotech programs in development that seek and destroy every cancer cell in your body. In five years they'll have concepts of this that are on the molecular level, with specific controlled reactions that have no effect on your body whatsoever but have the same effect.

Transhumanism has arrived. I choose not to participate.

I shall strive to remain a free human being.

Jun 23, 2009
Transhumanism has arrived. I choose not to participate.

I shall strive to remain a free human being.

Jun 23, 2009
that is sooo cool. but the picture of whos calling you.....mabey not that part. but if it was just a design that changes from one to the other, and had the phone ability (without the picture of caller)....that would be AWSOME

Jul 27, 2009
this gives a whole new meaning to "my boss/wife/whatever really got under my skin!" after she/he's given you a verbal trashing via phone. i like.

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