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DIY Microneedle Tattoos Are Now a Thing

Scientists at Georgia Tech used medical technology to create painless, self-administered tattoos.


You’ve probably heard of using microneedles as a drug or vaccine delivery system. Well, according to a recent New Atlas article, people are now using the painless adhesives for cheap do-it-yourself tattoos. A team of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology created a microneedle patch that can administer a tattoo onto skin in just a few minutes. The technology has been used in medical contexts for years for everything from insulin delivery to measuring biomarkers, but one man saw the potential for skin art and ran with it.

"We saw this as an opportunity to leverage our work on microneedle technology to make tattoos more accessible," said Mark Prausnitz. "While some people are willing to accept the pain and time required for a tattoo, we thought others might prefer a tattoo that is simply pressed onto the skin and does not hurt." Each tiny needle delivers tattoo ink, and acts as a single pixel of a larger image that is pressed into the skin. While the concept is still new, there are plenty of options for furthering it. People could one day design and print their own tattoo and self-administer it. Temporary forms of ink can also be used for reversible tattoos.

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