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Philip's Interactive LED Tattoos Could Be the Future of Body Art


Ah, human progress. It's long been possible to get drunk with your friends and make a permanent mistake on your body on spring break in Mexico, but soon you'll be able to do it electronically, too. That's right, we are entering the era of the LED tattoo.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have been developing micro-thin, flexible, silicon electronics that have already been successfully implanted under the skin of mice without any harm. These devices can conform to the body's shape without causing any irritation or interfering with its normal physiological processes. (The silk is eventually dissolved and absorbed by the body.)

We reported earlier on researchers experimenting with tiny LED implants to create an electronic tattoo, but electronics behemoth Philips is also exploring the tech as a personal embellishment rather than medical utility. If the below concept video has any truth to it, Philips' intentions include some rather 'Aeon Flux'-looking, tattoo-fueled sexual escapades.

Are these the beginnings of a cyborg future? We already have subcutaneous devices running rampant through our streets -- namely, the RFID tags that many pet owners are legally obligated to have implanted in their dogs. Between prostheses and robot colons, it seems as though we're already there. Should we fear the Johnny Mnemonics who would have this sort of technology implanted in their bodies, or is it a natural outgrowth of our species' evolution?

Industrial engineer Syd Mead wrote,
"Discoveries in the 'nano' technologies of bio, molecular, and micro engineering will re-edit the nomenclature of 'natural' versus 'unnatural,' blurring if not erasing the line of distinction between 'machine' and 'organism,' 'natural' and 'unnatural,' 'God-given' and 'man-made.'"
Well, we think the prospect is pretty intriguing, if not also a bit scary. We'll hold back judgment until the technology moves out of the animal-testing phase and into actual humans. One possible bright side? That drunken LED tattoo might be changeable, so you're not stuck with an incorrect Street Fighter move on your arm for the rest of your life. [From: Wired]

Tags: cyborg, led, medical, philips, research, tattoo, top, weird

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