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Author Topic: Can tattoos carry current to produce electronic tattoo circuitry?  (Read 20412 times)

Offline ScientificSorcerer

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TATTOOED CIRCUITRY

I was wondering is there a way to make conductive ink which would be "bio compatible" for tattooing?
Also is magnetic tattoo ink possible as well as electroluminescent tattoos.

I ask this because I had an Idea to make tattooed wires through the skin and connect them through piercings in the ear which have headphone sized speakers in them. and connect them to an audio signal such as a iPod.

CONDUCTIVE TATTOO INK

I found these "TEMPORARY circuit tattoos" when searching the web

link to website: http://www.dezeen.com/2013/03/28/biostamp-temporary-tattoo-wearable-electronic-circuits-john-rogers-mc10/


Yes those are LEDs Connected through ink (it's just ink applied on the skin) Its not an actual permanent tattoo.

it's sort of a proof of concept, I know that conductive inks do exist (like the ink in the picture above) but I doubt they can be used for actual tattooing do to toxicity (or something). But then again I'm no expert in specific materials which can be used as tattoo inks. But I do know that copper and heavy metals are often used in tattoos. So in my mind I doubt it's impossible.

If anyone knows if there is an already existing conductive tattoo ink, then a link to were I can get some would be greatly appreciated. If no such ink exists then I would like to discus HOW it would be possible to make such an ink.

ELECTROLUMINESCENT INK

as for electroluminescent Ink the idea is similar to the fake tattoo with leds attached in the picture above except it would literally be part of the tattoo. as in the ink would glow when electricity is passed through the conductive ink.

I know that there are 3 kinds of phosphorescent inks 2 of which are used in tattoos often.

glow in Black light tattoos.


glow in the dark tattoos.


But no Electroluminescent tattoos :( that's because it's impracticable without conductive tattoos. Electroluminescents are just another phosphor type, and in my opinion it must be possible because the tattoos which glow in the dark are freaking radioactive! yet they can still be used as tattoos.
electroluminescent phosphors are not radioactive so it would probably be safer then getting glow in the dark tattoos.

I know that electroluminescents are often activated only with high voltage ac and others are activated with low voltage dc so only low voltage ELs could work.

In theory I could make a OLCD screen on by body! as in animated tattoos.

MAGNETIC INK

last but not least, magnetic tattoos. People can get magnetic implants believe it or not look at this stuff.


but it requires minor surgery to get the implant, and it probably wouldn't work for my application anyway. In-order to make some electrical components like tattooed speakers in the ear then you'll need magnetic ink or a speaker earring connected to conductive tattoo ink. Other componants like printed transformers would need magnetic ink as well.

fortunately magnetic tattoos already exist! Nokia invented it recently and it is made with neodymium too, so they are exceptionally strong   


Link: http://www.techdaily.eu/articles/entertainment/vibrating-tattoos-let-you-know-when-your-phone-rings-208.html

Bottom line is I need conductive and electroluminescent tattoo inks, Both of which are probably possible to make. I posted this on the chemistry section of this forum because developing these new inks would require a chemist's know how.

I believe that the electroluminescent tattoo ink would probably be the easiest to make, as conductive ink may pose some interesting complications like short circuits do to sweat or skin, you might need some type of insulation ink on both sides of the conductive ink or some thing.

If it works think of the cyborg type applications which can become possible, things like animated tattoos and watches implanted into your arm, implanted headphones too. who knows it might lead to a touch screen computer smart phone which is a tattoo! it might be useful for medical applications too like monitoring hart-rate or pulse even EEGs. But It also provides some darker applications like RFID tattoos.
« Last Edit: 29/12/2013 16:46:56 by chris »


 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: TATTOOED CIRCUITRY
« Reply #1 on: 28/12/2013 05:58:23 »
It would seem as if a good many inks might be conductive.  Any kind of graphite, or largely aeromatic substance is probably conductive.  Perhaps you could get a gold powder in suspension.  Silver suspensions are also often conductive, although they may react in the body.

One of the problems, however, is that the tattoo is in the dermis, which may be much more conductive than the epidermis or stratum corneum.  So, a conductive tattoo may not yield the benefits you wish.

Undoubtedly you could feed a fine insulated wire under the skin if you wished.  Still, you might be limited to connecting to implants rather than tattoo ink.  Anything that permanently penetrates the skin is a risk of infection, but you could put LEDs and other implants below the skin.

Pacemaker batteries will last a good long time, and it is theoretically possible to make a rechargeable battery relying on a non-contact magnetic field for recharging.

 

Offline ScientificSorcerer

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Re: TATTOOED CIRCUITRY
« Reply #2 on: 28/12/2013 07:47:46 »
CliffordK
Your probably right, But I was doing some research into carbon nano tubes and carbon nano spheres  recently, I know that they are more conductive then copper by a lot, what if the carbon nano spheres/tubes were used to make ink. I think they wouldn't react with the body because it's carbon. the oldest tattoos in the world were basically pure carbon from ash. But any way it's very conductive stuff.

and about the electroluminescent ink? what's your take on that? I know for a fact that Tesla coils can induce a current in most electroluminescent materials, what if high frequency electricity (skin effect) was used to light up the tattoos? this way no wires are needed I know that an impractical alternative but it would work theoretically.
« Last Edit: 28/12/2013 07:55:17 by ScientificSorcerer »
 

Online alancalverd

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Re: TATTOOED CIRCUITRY
« Reply #3 on: 28/12/2013 09:16:17 »
There are plenty of unintentionally conductive permanent tattoo inks, some of which cause burns when a patient is subject to a radiofrequency field in an MRI scanner.

Given the increasing likelihood that a person will have an MRI scan at some time in their life, I wouldn't advise anyone to seek a permanent conductive tattoo.
 

Offline RD

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Re: TATTOOED CIRCUITRY
« Reply #4 on: 28/12/2013 09:49:24 »
last but not least, magnetic tattoos. People can get magnetic implants believe it or not look at this stuff.

Bang goes the data on their bank-card / rail-ticket  ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_stripe_card



"Zombie boy" has the full set ...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Genest
« Last Edit: 28/12/2013 13:12:02 by RD »
 

Offline ScientificSorcerer

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So some tattoos are conductive (perhaps unintentionally) But are they conductive enough to make the electricity flow through the tattoo and not semi-conductive skin? 

The question is would it work? the wires would be uninsulated, so any resistive components like printed resistors or capacitors wouldn't work because the current would find it easier to just flow around the component through the skin. You could you use the skin as a dielectric for these components. But I don't know how that would work, it might be painful to pass current through the skin depending on how much power you need plus skin is a terrible insulator so the components would have to be large and spaced far apart for them to offer any resistance.

I also had an idea to layer the tattoo wire in-order to insulate it. for this you would need insulating ink. tattoo artists often cover up old unwanted tattoos by painting over it, in a similar way you could sandwich conductive ink in between 2 layers of insulating ink, by doing this you might be able to insulate the ink wire.

resistors would basically be tiny breaks in the conductive wire and capacitors would be basically the same thing except with more surface area. all of these components would we sandwiched between 2 layers of insulating ink.

printed resistors

printed capacitors


imagine first getting a insulating tattoo to outline the circuit then let it dry and heal, a week or so later put a second layer of conductive ink over the top of it. then wait another week and get another insulating tattoo over the top of the second layer, encasing the conductive ink in-between 2 layers of insulating ink (like a sandwich). A method like this would be the only alternative to using skin as a dielectric.

this man explains how someone would layer a tattoo.

What do ya'll think about this RD, CliffordK and alancalverd or anybody else who reads this?

ps: what are the possibilities for piezoelectric ink?
« Last Edit: 30/12/2013 07:44:56 by ScientificSorcerer »
 

Offline RD

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Tattoo inks in the skin aren't a solid continuous layer like copper on a printed circuit board :
their distribution is patchy, see ... http://www.microscopyu.com/staticgallery/pathology/tattoo20x04.html
 

Offline ScientificSorcerer

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Is It possible then? Are tattooed circuits simply impossible? (nothing is impossible when you put your mind to it)
So let's put our minds to it I ask the question how? how can this be done? perhaps some new method of tattooing, or some special ink, or something, I need Ideas guys?

some tribal cultures make tattoos by cutting someone then rubbing the wound with ink, which sometimes leads to "scarification" (another form of body art) this could change how the ink is distributed under the skin (making straight lines) if scars develop so be it, but I would rather not do scarification perhaps a similar method?
« Last Edit: 30/12/2013 08:10:50 by ScientificSorcerer »
 

Offline RD

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If for some reason you want an electronic circuit in the skin, an implant is the way to go ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Warwick#Project_Cyborg

[ don't try this at home ]
« Last Edit: 30/12/2013 09:21:20 by RD »
 

Online alancalverd

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Is It possible then? Are tattooed circuits simply impossible?

Pointless and dangerous, yes, Impossible, no.
 

Offline ScientificSorcerer

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Ok, maybe conductive tattoos are impossible But what about electroluminescent tattoos.  I know it's impractical but I would still like to know if that is possible. I doubt that zinc sulfide would be non toxic to the skin But I honestly don't know. I can't find anything on the internet which relates to what substances can be used as tattoo inks.

Lets say that the phosphor is activated by very low powered, high frequency AC electricity (skin effect). so that the tattoos will glow when you energize and be invisible when your not energizing your body. a bit like this picture except no black light needed.



The concept is practically the same, a phosphor tattoo that will glow under some specific circumstance. In this case you would need a small battery powered device somewhere on your body (like your wrist) which will turn dc into low powered ac then a 555 timer to make it high frequency so that the electricity flows only through the skin. I would probably guess that you would only need like 9 volts ac to activate the phosphor (no danger there) so it would be reasonably safe. you could probably even light up LEDs with your bear hands how cool is that!

This type of tattoo would probably glow very bright and never dim as long as you stay powered up. But I wonder if you increase the voltage what will happen? say for example you over power the tattoo, will it blow out or burn you? these questions are necessary to ask before producing such a thing.

you could even pulse modulate the current flow to something like an iPod and animate the tattoo.

Quote
Pointless and dangerous, yes, Impossible, no.
It is indeed possible and this is the loop hole

« Last Edit: 08/01/2014 17:52:53 by ScientificSorcerer »
 

Offline RD

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Lets say that the phosphor is activated by very low powered, high frequency AC electricity (skin effect). so that the tattoos will glow when you energize and be invisible when your not energizing your body.

Current must pass through the core of the conductor for the skin-effect to occur ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skin_effect
« Last Edit: 08/01/2014 19:43:56 by RD »
 

Offline CliffordK

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Our electronics require energy flow.  You can't just energize the body, but you must have flow from negative to positive.

Perhaps you need to figure out how to graft an Electric Eel's electric organs onto one of your nerves.
Apparently they're already working on it at Yale.
 

Offline ScientificSorcerer

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RD: small currents will flow inside the body, but most of the energy will flow around the outside of the conductor.
but that's besides the point. The point is will it work? I have done experiments with tesla coils and electroluminescent phosphors, the result from the experiments is what you would expect, the tesla coil induced a current in the phosphor and made it glow. there is very little difference between what I propose and being like nicola tesla and holding a light bulb in your hand to make it glow.



the fact that the tattoo would be "under" the skin makes me wonder if it will work or not. but small currents do flow under the skin, it's just concentrated at the surface. so that sort of makes me think it would indeed work. you might just need to have more power, like 40 volts or go full tesla and max out around 30,000 volts or more.

But most importantly what would be an appropriate nontoxic bio-safe electroluminescent phosphor to use as tattoo ink? As far as I can tell zinc sulfide is only slightly toxic and I don't know about any others by name
« Last Edit: 08/01/2014 22:39:01 by ScientificSorcerer »
 

Offline RD

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... you might just need to have more power, like 40 volts or go full tesla and max out around 30,000 volts or more.

The electric field needs to be few hundred Volts-per-meter to make a fluorescent-tube glow faintly, like a feeble light-sabre :)


http://www.larkinweb.co.uk/miscellany/fluorescent_tubes_under_power_lines.html
« Last Edit: 08/01/2014 22:50:55 by RD »
 

Offline ScientificSorcerer

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RD: so your saying that in-order for the tattoos to light up you'll need high voltage, but how much voltage?

florescent tubes require high voltage to work somewhere between 400 and 700 volts at around 40 watts
(at least for the one I'm looking at) electroluminescent materials require far less power, around 9 volts and like less then 5 watts.

I don't think very much power would be necessary to to light it up compared to florescent tubes. In other-words you wouldn't need a Tesla coil for it to work,  perhaps some small battery powered watch or something along these lines.



the video features the skin effect at -7000 volts (which is nothing compared to a Tesla coil) but that level of power would be appropriate I think, it's only capable of giving you a mild static shock, tazers use many times the voltage used in the device in the video, it's mildly safe (sort of)

I don't know why the guy used an ac ionizer because most ionizers run directly on dc, it would be way easier to use one that ran on dc.

Also: What electroluminescent chemical would be best to use?
« Last Edit: 09/01/2014 22:20:26 by ScientificSorcerer »
 

Offline CliffordK

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I'd recommend doing a test using chicken skin or pig skin before you get too much into the project.

Here is a link for DuPont luxprint electroluminescent paint/ink

It looks like it uses AC current, 60 to 120V or so, and 50 to 1000 Hz, with the higher the frequency, the better. 

You do need two electrodes for your work. 

Perhaps you would get a soft glow with lower frequencies or voltages.  It still doesn't sound like something I'd want on, or in my arm.
« Last Edit: 10/01/2014 03:27:44 by CliffordK »
 

Offline ScientificSorcerer

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CliffordK thanks for the link but I read how long it will work and it wont work for long, just a few 1000 hours like 3 months tops and it was saying that moisture degrades the material faster. the material they are talking about is zinc sulfide, the one I was talking about a wile ago.

It is reactive with water and it doesn't last very long (simply no good for tattoos)
but the picture on page 4 gives me an Idea (EL contact lenses) but let's not focus on that.

I found this stuff though.
http://lumilor.com/science/
It's made of a different stuff that is supposed to last longer and glow brighter then any other (but it could just be a marketing pitch) They say it's non-toxic and can be applied to carbon, so that's a start but they still degrade overtime but never actually burn out. (It has a half life) like radioactive stuff. they say they will do personal and custom jobs. I'll give them a call tomorrow to see If they think it's possible.

~peace~
 

Offline ScientificSorcerer

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I talked to a guy named Derail who works at Dark side scientific about the idea and I totally caught him off guard :)  he was like WTF???
He did say that it sounds possible to some degree but he wouldn't consider doing it because it hadn't been tested (he didn't want to be liable if anything went wrong) Though he said the paint is indeed nontoxic and even safe to eat! he said he would consult with his team about considering it. But he did suggest a device which sounds far better then a wrist mounted device.

A Cane


A small cylindrical ionizer I found could fit inside a cane and is powered only by 7.4 volt dc Li rechargeable batteries it takes 14.4 watts, but it produces 200,000 volts! which makes me worry.
I have only ever done the skin effect at 50,000 volts before. all you need to do is attach the batteries directly to the device for it to work too, no driver or anything. a ball topped cane would be the top-load and one of the leads would go straight to ground (the bottom part of the staff's shaft which touches the ground)

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/High-voltage-igniter-electrostatic-generato-high-voltage-inverter-high-voltage-module-input-dc-3V-6V-output/809321252.html

It's the same thing as the device used in the last video I posted except way higher voltage! I would just need some kind of twist switch which would turn it on and off by twisting the shaft the guy even said that he would paint the cane with lumilor, so that I can activate the paint by waving my hand over it.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Like I suggested earlier, talk to  your local butcher and see if you can get something with a little skin like a pig leg, and see if you can get your tattoo system to work in a lab setting before experimenting with humans.  Technically you would need permits to experiment on live animals.

A good tattoo might be extraordinary, but a bad tattoo will be with you for the rest of your life.

If your expected lifespan of the "tattoo" is a few months, then you would be much better off with a paint-on system that could easily be renewed.
 

Offline ScientificSorcerer

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CliffordK
I would never do something like this (especially on my self) without extensive testing. Your advice/warning shall be heeded :) trust me. Also Lumilor's tattoo's don't actually burn out ever, but after about 2 years they get dull and fade. Plus I still need to make the staff first of all. It needs to be high quality and stylish

Hmmm...

I was thinking about a Horvath's cane replica off of that movie the sorcerer's apprentice.


And what shall be the design for the first tattoo of it's kind? I was thinking about getting a Triforce of power


But I'm still debating on what stiles/designs for both the tattoo and the cane I want to go with I am open to suggestions :)

Also I forgot to mention that the tattoo also has the ability to be invisible unless activated just like the ones that glow under black light.
« Last Edit: 13/01/2014 04:31:32 by ScientificSorcerer »
 

Offline CliffordK

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You could likely implant LEDs under the skin, designed to shine through the skin.  Not the same as a tattoo, but you could do interesting effects.  And, nothing when turned off, although depending on the size and etc, perhaps small bumps.

You could make an induction charger, and recharge an implanted battery pack without direct contact. 

Anyway, good luck with your project.
 

Offline ScientificSorcerer

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Custom canes are expensive! Depending on what materials you want to use in the cane it will cost you upward of $1000 :( I also can't seem to find a Horvath's cane replica on the internet. I guess I will just have to make it myself.

The cane would have to be endowed with special properties, for example the handle and heel would have to be made with conductive metal such as silver, copper or aluminum and the shaft would have to get a large hole drilled down the middle so I can stuff whole bunch of batteries and wires in there, the large hole would weaken the strength of the cane so the wood used should be very strong so it wont break, like oak, ash, teak or ebony. I personally think that Hollywood should be used  because of it's history.

A ball top would be appropriate I think. that way charge wont build up near points and leak off. the collar would need to be longer then normal and completely hollow so I can fit the ionizer in it.

Above all I want the cane to look like a normal cane with no evidence of internal electronics so a normal switch wont be used. I was thinking about using some sort of twist switch were I simply twist a part of the collar or shaft to turn it on or off.

the bottom of the cane which touches the ground are often made of rubber which would keep the cane from being grounded, But there is something called conductive rubber I found on the internet which would salve that problem.

But I feel like it needs some safety precautions I would undoubtedly have to wear rubber socks under regular socks for safety, as well as electrical hazard shoes to ensure that I wont be grounded. But I would need some sort of fail safe mechanism hmm...
« Last Edit: 13/01/2014 18:34:28 by ScientificSorcerer »
 

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