Digital Tattoo

Anne Roudout, Digital Tattoo

With the covid pandemic we have adapted our research because unfortunately we did not have access to a workshop to play with digital pigment in the way we wanted. But while we did not reached yet the stage of creating digital tattoos, we still looked at how to use the technology to create non rectangular displays as a first step. Interestingly we have had two opposite reaction to this objective.

The first question people asks is “why do you want to have a display that is other than rectangular?”. This question is very interesting because somehow, when we think about the word “display”, we do all think about a rectangular TV screen. But if we really think about it, a firework is a display too. Even throughout the history we have used many topologies to “display” information, e.g. paintings on column in ancient Egypt, vases or plates were very common. The first Cathode Ray Tube TVs were even circular but were changed to fit the rectangular shape of perforated filmstrips who were rectangular. A century later, we still use rectangular displays. Somehow we have biased ourself into thinking displays must be that way.

To counterbalance that, we also have a second type of question that people asks us which is “how can i use this now for X application”. And those people are either artists, or industrials who can clearly see beyond the biases we have toward thinking about display are rectangular and planar. We have had interest from urban artists who want to use it for street art, from more tattoo artists. We also have had interest from phone and car producers. So there is definitely a market for creating displays of any shapes or that can be integrated on many topologies. The truth is that advances in technology have and are enabling to make displays with varying shapes. But the most difficult challenge we are face now is to break those established and static ideas that have accumulated over decades.

We are hopeful that our research could do this, either by inspiring artists who often in the history have enable changes to happen, or either inspiring manufacturers into breaking norms and standards.

Find out more about ‘Digital Tattoo: Designing interface for controlling smart ink in programmable tattoo‘.