Innovation That Matters

Tattoo captures and plays back sound

Fashion & Beauty

California tattoo artist develops a design technique and app to allow users to play back recorded words and music embedded in a tattoo.

Los Angeles-based tattoo artist Nate Siggard has developed a way for body art to incorporate sound as well as images. The idea originated when Siggard’s girlfriend Juliana watched Siggard tattoo song lyrics on a customer and wondered what it would be like to be able to listen to a tattoo. Siggard soon realized that he could in fact make that happen.

Siggard recorded Juliana and their daughter saying “I love you”, and tattooed himself with the waveform of the recording. When he posted a video of the playback on Facebook, it immediately went viral and he began receiving requests for similar tattoos. After writing a patent for the Soundwave tattoos, Siggard launched his new business, Skin Motion.

To begin, a person uploads or records up to a minute of audio into the Skin Motion app or website. Skin Motion uses the recording to generate a Soundwave image. The image is then taken to any of the tattoo artists in Skin Motion’s licensed Artist Network. Once completed, a picture of the tattoo is uploaded onto Skin Motion’s platform – when the user points the camera on their mobile device at the tattoo, the app recognizes the waveform pattern on the tattoo and plays back the audio recording.

According to Siggard, most of the enquiries about the tattoos have come from people wanting to preserve the voice of loved ones who have passed on; but requests have also included tattoos of favorite quotes and jokes. Although still in development, Skin Motion expects the app to be available for release in June 2017.

In the past, we have seen temporary tattoos turn the body into a touchscreen, wearable skin stamps that can act as a functional interface with smart devices, and a temporary tattoo for diabetics that monitors blood sugar levels. Will we one day wear mobile devices on our skin instead of carrying them in our pockets?




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