A tattoo makes you cool, unique and special. There are so many creative designs you can do with tattoos.
Now, tattoos are becoming common and you can even get temporary tattoos made from glitter, crystals or metallic ink.
Engineers at the Massachusetts Institutes of Technology have discovered a way of 3D printing technique they believe could possibly be used to create a “living tattoo” that lights up. A 3D printings method, the team used was made from genetically programmed living cells. They patterned cells into the flat design and transparent 3D structure. They mixed the cells with hydrogel and nutrients to print layer by layer three-dimensional and interactive tree-like structure.
Though the design is pretty cool, the printed tree isn’t technically an actual tattoo because there’s no ink involved. Each branch of the tree is composed of cells that are sensitive in terms of different chemical or molecular compounds. Some of the cells were programmed by the researchers with the skill to send signals to other cells much like transistors on a microchip. So when the patch sticks to skin, the 3D-printed design responds by lighting up. Hyunwoo Yuk described the type of this communication as a “living computer.”
The researchers, led by Professor Xuanhe Zhao from MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, and associate professor Timothy Lu, say that this technique could be used in the creation of interactive display devices and wearable sensors. Such devices can be formed with live cells and then engineered to sense things like pollutants, chemicals, and temperature and pH changes.
The team also imagines this technique could be used to manufacture surgical implants and drug capsules.
“We can use bacterial cells like workers in a 3D factory,” Prof Lu said. “They can be engineered to produce drugs within a 3D scaffold, and applications should not be confined to epidermal devices.”
Prof Lu also said that as long as the fabrication method and approach are workable, applications such as implants and ingestible could be possible.