*See Video Below*
Scientists are researching biodegradable, silicon-silk devices that could be implanted inside the human body for various applications, potentially including the development of "LED tattoo" skin displays.
Unlike the current breed of "rigid" implantable chips (such as the ID tags that can be put into pets), these devices would build a silicon circuits into thin films of silk that would be flexible and could conform to the surface of human tissue.
Wired explains that the implants would eventually melt away in the body:
The silk substrate onto which the chips are mounted eventually dissolve away inside the body, leaving just the electronics behind. The silicon chips are around the length of a small grain of rice -- about one millimeter, and just 250 nanometers thick, and the sheet of silk will keep them in place, moulding to the shape of the skin when saline is added.
So what might be the applications for this technology?
According to Wired, "these tattoos could carry LEDs, turning the wearer's skin into a screen."
H+ magazine imagines,
You could show off your latest Flash animations, watch TV on your arm, or have a built-in PDA screen.
MIT's Technology Review also notes,
The group is developing silk-silicon LEDs that might act as photonic tattoos that can show blood-sugar readings, as well as arrays of conformable electrodes that might interface with the nervous system.
Electronics-maker Philips has conceived of more sensual, personal uses for the devices:
Stimulated by touch, an Electronic Tattoo traverses across the landscape of the body, navigated by desire.
See what they've imagined in the video below.
What do you think about these LED tattoos: gross or great? Tell us below.
Read more about the minds behind the research at the Technology Review here.