If you’ve been dying to get a kick-ass dragon tattoo but feel like it might not go over well with prospective employers or your mom, then here’s a sneaky, roundabout way to satisfy your yearning. You can get the tattoo using augmented reality–and for an extra dose of kick-ass, the dragon will flap its leathery wings.
The concept was developed by a Buenos Aires-based software company called ThinkAnApp. In the video below, you’ll see a guy’s arm tattooed with what looks like a plain rectangular box. But that box is essentially a barcode. The company has devised a camera with special software that reads this barcode, and then superimposes an animated image.
When viewed through a specially equipped camera, the seemingly plain box design suddenly displays a three-dimension dragon. The possibilities for art projects, information distribution, and social engineering via body art inherent in this idea are fascinating.
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Tattoos just got even more permanent. Scientists have developed a method to uncover old tattoos that have been altered or surgically removed. The technology involves infrared cameras and could be particularly useful to law enforcement agents, according to Tech Radar:
Often used as a distinguishing factor to identify criminals, tattoos can be altered or removed relatively easily, but a team at the University of Derby has come up with a solution.
Using infrared means that removed tattoos, or even tattoos that have been altered, can be spotted in the deeper layers of skin.
Guess that means DISCOVER’s CEO and Publisher Henry Donahue will never be able to fully get rid of his fish. Let’s hope he stays out of trouble!
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Image: flickr / House of Sims
Here at DISCOVER, we’re major science tattoo aficionados. In addition to hosting blogger Carl Zimmer’s ever-expanding Science Tattoo Emporium, we engaged Bad Astronomy blogger Phil Plait and our CEO and publisher Henry Donahue in an agreement to get tattoos themselves if the Web site’s traffic tripled (Henry’s resulting tat is seen to the left). So we were understandably excited to learn that the newest plan to save Britain’s endangered species involves needles and ink.
ExtInked, a project out of an arts collective in Manchester, England, chose 100 of the U.K.’s most endangered plants and animals and spent much of last weekend tattooing the images of those flora and fauna onto the bodies of 100 volunteers. Jai Redman, one of the project leaders, drew all the life-forms himself.
It’s not quite the kind of science tattoo that The Loom displays in its gallery, but scientists in Cambridge, MA are developing a nanosensor that can be injected into the skin, like a tattoo, to monitor blood sugar levels.
The sensor, still in early development, is intended to save diabetics from having to finger-prick and use enzyme test strips on their own blood, which is currently the most reliable method to measure blood glucose.
The “tattoo” will be comprised of 120-nanometer polymer beads, and will actually be shallower than the ink of a real tattoo. Injected into the surface layers of the skin, the sensor will need to be re-injected periodically. Each polymer bead, wrapped in a biocompatible coating, contains sensor molecules that are designed to detect specific chemicals—which, in addition to glucose, will also potentially include sodium, chloride, and calcium.