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Programmable LED Tattoos

Silk Implant for LED tattoos

We interrupt your irregularly scheduled posts of people with geeky tattoos to bring you a tattooing method that’s pretty geeky in itself.

Geeks love LEDS, it’s true. Some geeks love tattoos. Now science (it totally works) has managed to bring these two loves together into an LED tattoo. There’s an article over on h+ about how an associate professor of neurology and bioengeineering (Brian Litt) is working with Beckman Institute to develop medical uses for a new super-thin silicon transistor embedded in a dissolvable silk-based film only 250 nanometers thick. The thought is that it can be inserted under the skin and used to display useful medical information, like blood sugar levels for diabetes patients. Of course, someone with a large sum of money to pay for the procedure could also get this installed for aesthetic reasons too. Programmable tattoos sure would show up those luddites with ink under their skin.

But it’s not just limited to fancy display, researchers are also looking in to how to use this silicon transistors + silk-based film to control brain activity, prosthetic limbs, and more. So far no human tests have been done, but some experiments with the brave mice have proved successful. There’s a couple more articles with more details out there, including this one on Technology Review. And for you bio/physics geeks there also this paper from Applied Physics that “describes strategies for integrating single crystalline silicon electronics, where the silicon is in the form of nanomembranes, onto water soluble and biocompatible silk substrates.”

Posted in Science, Tattoos.

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