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Dynamic tattoos promise to warn wearers of health threats

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Dynamic tattoos promise to warn wearers of health threats

Image: UV-activated tattoo ink is invisible until exposed to UV light. Jesse Butterfield/The Laboratory for Emergent Nanomaterials, University of Colorado Boulder, CC BY-NC-ND. Article by Carson J. Bruns.

In the sci-fi novel “The Diamond Age” by Neal Stephenson, body art has evolved into “constantly shifting mediatronic tattoos” – in-skin displays powered by nanotech robopigments. In the 25 years since the novel was published, nanotechnology has had time to catch up, and the sci-fi vision of dynamic tattoos is starting to become a reality.

The first examples of color-changing nanotech tattoos have been developed over the past few years, and they’re not just for body art. They have a biomedical purpose. Imagine a tattoo that alerts you to a health problem signaled by a change in your biochemistry, or to radiation exposure that could be dangerous to your health. […]

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