Tattoos, however cool, are not usually associated with health, but Austin-based tech development company Chaotic Moon Studios is looking to change that with TechTats.
The biowearable has an elegant steampunk look, with all the circuitry operational. It can track the wearer’s biometric data via an Atiny85 microcontroller and electro conductive paint, and download the data to another device. Basically, it’s a more discreet FitBit, but Chaotic Moon plans for it to be much more than that.
Plans are for TechTats to include location trackers, which might appeal to the military for getting real-time information about troop deployment, soldier by soldier, and being able to monitor individual health information and to detect pathogens or poisons. The tracking function might also let you track your spouse or child, but not without raising privacy issues and putting private investigators out of business. The tattoos might also include banking functions, allowing users to pay with a gesture or wave of the hand.
The problem is that there are devices already on the market that have some or all of these functions. Your smartphone has GPS functions, there are apps that let you pay with your phone, and there’s FitBit. TechTats are not permanent; the company has considered selling them in bulk in a Band-Aid-like can.
TechTats are still in prototype and under development. But is circuitry on your arm that far from circuitry in your arm? Maybe the world of William Gibson’s Johnny Mnemonic is not as far into the future as we thought.