No needle skin art: Are Painless Biometric Electric Tattoos the Future of Body Art?

Electrocuting the skin seems like a terrible idea. But when it comes to tattooing, the sky may be the limit. An electronic tattoo is a device that can temporarily replace traditional ink by zapping your skin with high-voltage electricity to create a tingling sensation.

A non-profit organization called Chaotic Moon is working on these “Biometric electric tattoos,” which use nanoelectronics and conductive ink to painlessly paint your body in any design you want, without scars or needles poking you repeatedly. Chaotic Moon even has plans to turn the concept into a phone-controlled device that can connect to your smart homes, or even transform your entire body into a touchscreen.

The idea is called Circuit Scribe. It seeks to provide a more convenient and safer alternative to permanent tattoos. The electronic gear comes in a kit, composed of conductive ink and an electronic skin-painting pen. You’ll be able to sketch out an image on paper and within minutes the device will transfer it onto your skin with thousands of volts of electric current that feel like pins and needles — but no pain — instead of ink.

This is not the first time that people have tried to make electricity-based tattoos a reality. In 2005, Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts put an artist up against a wall and zapped his arm with 50,000 volts for 90 seconds. It created a black outline of the individual’s body on the other side of the cell wall — but he was unable to feel anything.

Last fall, researchers from Stanford University successfully used low-voltage electric shocks to tattoo virtual patterns onto rats’ skin, which showed that the technique might one day be used in humans. The idea has gained some praise from industry insiders and medical experts.

Chaotic Moon will also introduce smartphone-enabled electric tattoos that can connect to entertainment systems or smart homes via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technologies. The company plans to sell these smart tattoos for around $350, with additional add-on packs that cost around $60.

Are tattoos still taboo?

It’s hard to pinpoint when tattoos became such a cultural phenomenon. There was a time, not too long ago, where you could only find them on bikers and sailors. Fast forward to today and tattoos are seen on people of all walks of life, from CEOs to kids.

What does this mean for the tattoo taboo? Tattoos are still taboo in many ways — there is still plenty of stigmas surrounding them, but they have become much more accepted overall. People are so used to seeing tattoos that they don’t think twice about seeing someone with one nowadays.

If you’re talking about the types of people who can get tattoos that are not considered normal, then yes, maybe there is still a stigma surrounding looks. These days, tattoos are seen as an art form or add personal flair to your clothing or appearance. If you want something unique and different, then don’t be ashamed to have it on your body — it could be the next big thing. The only thing left for them to do is become mainstream.

As of recently, tattoos are becoming a more mature and accepted form of body art. People no longer have to worry about what other people think when they get a tattoo, especially Millennials who grew up in the era of social media. As technology has evolved, so has society’s approval for tattooing.

There are, however, still some obstacles that must be overcome if the wider public is to truly embrace tattoos as a form of expression as well as art form: refusing them because they aren’t proper “company” clothing or simply finding traditional designs unappealing.

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