Biohack Yourself with a Tech Tattoo

In the last few months, you may or may not have read about certain cyborg-inclined individuals who enhance their tattoos by implanting red LED lights beneath their own skin.

Is it as dumb as it sounds? Yeah, pretty much. But this brazen foray into artificial bioluminescence comes on the heels of a more—ahem—scientifically valuable attempt at DIY biohacking, which involved an Android-controlled computer chip implant used to monitor health data.

Now, thanks to Austin-based mobile development company Chaotic Moon, temporary electronic tattoos may offer a quick and painless alternative to invasive biohacking procedures.

Tech Tats, as the company affectionately calls them, consist of a collection of biosensors positioned on top of a thin layer of electric paint applied to the skin. Consider it the equivalent of a wearable circuit board, which can monitor and transmit biological data to an app on your mobile device by way of a micro-controller.

In this regard, Tech Tats are similar to fitness trackers, yet they afford users far more discretion in their placement and appearance. Their unobtrusive nature also makes them ideal devices for monitoring children’s vitals post-surgery.

The company imagines that Tech Tats could also safely and securely store financial data, and that they could even be used to authorize payments.

“This would be implemented by by securely storing data on a skin mounted micro controller and transferring the data when the user specifies based on a gesture or fingerprint on a tap to a pay style device,” Chaotic Moon CEO Ben Lamm explained in a letter to VICE.

If you’re thinking that anything as outrageously cool as an electronic tattoo must also be outrageously expensive, think again. Chaotic Moon has expressed interest in manufacturing Tech Tats in Band-Aid-like packages, rendering them easily accessible in bulk quantities.

Feature photo courtesy of Flickr user Peter Shanks.