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在科幻小说中 “钻石时代” by Neal Stephenson, body art has evolved into “constantly shifting mediatronic tattoos” – in-skin displays powered by nanotech robopigments.由尼尔史蒂文森(Neal Stephenson)设计的人体艺术已演变为“不断变化的Mediatronic纹身” –由纳米技术抢劫提供动力的皮肤内显示器。 In the 25 years since the novel was published, nanotechnology has had time to catch up, and the sci-fi vision of dynamic tattoos is starting to become a reality.自小说出版以来的XNUMX年间,纳米技术已经赶上了发展的步伐,动态纹身的科幻视觉开始成为现实。

The first examples of color-changing nanotech tattoos have been developed over the past few years, and they're not just for body art.过去几年中已经开发出了可改变颜色的纳米技术纹身的第一个例子,它们不仅用于人体艺术。 They have a biomedical purpose.它们具有生物医学目的。 Imagine a tattoo that alerts you to a health problem signaled by a change in your biochemistry, or to radiation exposure that could be dangerous to your health.想象一下一个纹身,它会警告您注意因生化变化或可能对您的健康构成危险的辐射而发出的健康问题。

You can't walk into a doctor's office and get a dynamic tattoo yet, but they are on the way.您还不能走进医生的办公室并获得动态纹身,但是它们正在路上。 Early proof-of-concept studies provide convincing evidence that tattoos can be engineered, not only to change color, but to sense and convey biomedical information, including the onset of cancer.早期的概念验证研究提供了令人信服的证据,表明可以对纹身进行改造,不仅可以改变颜色,还可以感知和传达生物医学信息,包括癌症的发作。


2017年,研究人员对从猪身上摘下的猪皮进行了纹身, 使用颜色的分子生物传感器 指示皮肤液体中的钠,葡萄糖或pH值。


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在2019年,一组研究人员对该研究进行了扩展,包括 蛋白质感应和开发用于纹身的智能手机读数。 This year, they also showed that今年,他们还表明 荧光纹身传感器可以检测到电解质水平.

在2018年,一组生物学家开发了一种 由工程皮肤细胞制成的纹身 that darken when they sense an imbalance of calcium caused by certain cancers.当他们感觉到某些癌症引起的钙失衡时,其颜色就会变黑。 They demonstrated the cancer-detecting tattoo in living mice.他们在活着的老鼠身上展示了可察觉癌症的纹身。


我的实验室 is 从不同的角度看科技纹身。 We are interested in sensing external harms, such as ultraviolet radiation.我们对感知外部伤害(例如紫外线)感兴趣。 UV exposure in sunlight and tanning beds is the main risk factor for all types of skin cancer.阳光和晒黑床中的紫外线暴露是所有类型皮肤癌的主要危险因素。 Nonmelanoma skin cancers are the most common malignancies in the US, Australia and Europe.非黑素瘤皮肤癌是美国,澳大利亚和欧洲最常见的恶性肿瘤。

(动态纹身有望警告佩戴者健康威胁)紫外线激活的纹身墨水在暴露于紫外线下是不可见的。 杰西·巴特菲尔德(Jesse Butterfield)/科罗拉多大学博尔德分校新兴纳米材料实验室, CC BY-NC-ND

为了解决这个问题,我们开发了 一种不可见的纹身墨水,仅在紫外线下会变成蓝色,在需要保护皮肤时提醒您。 The tattoo ink contains a UV-activated dye inside of a plastic nanocapsule less than a micron in diameter – or thousandth of a millimeter – about the same size as an ordinary tattoo pigment.纹身墨水在塑料纳米胶囊内部包含紫外线激活的染料,直径小于一微米(即千分之一毫米),其大小与普通纹身颜料相同。

The nanocapsule is needed to make the color-changing tattoo particles large enough.需要纳米胶囊以使变色纹身颗粒足够大。 If tattoo pigments are too small, the immune system rapidly clears them from the skin and the tattoo disappears.如果纹身颜料太小,免疫系统会迅速将其从皮肤上清除掉,并且纹身会消失。 They are implanted using tattoo machines in the same way as regular tattoos, but they last for only several months before they start to degrade from UV exposure and other natural processes and fade, requiring a “booster” tattoo.它们使用与普通纹身相同的方式使用纹身机植入,但是它们只能持续数月才能开始因暴露于紫外线和其他自然过程而变质并褪色,从而需要“助推”纹身。

I served as the first human test subject for these tattoos.我是这些纹身的第一个人体测试对象。 I created “solar freckles” on my forearm – invisible spots that turned blue under UV exposure and reminded me when to wear sunscreen.我在前臂上创建了“太阳雀斑” –在紫外线照射下,不可见的斑点变成蓝色,提醒我何时应戴防晒霜。 My lab is also working on invisible UV-protective tattoos that would absorb UV light penetrating through the skin, like a long-lasting sunscreen just below the surface.我的实验室还在研究不可见的紫外线防护纹身,这种纹身可以吸收穿透皮肤的紫外线,就像表面下方的持久防晒霜一样。 We're also working on “thermometer” tattoos using temperature-sensitive inks.我们还正在使用对温度敏感的墨水制作“温度计”纹身。 Ultimately, we believe tattoo inks could be used to prevent and diagnose disease.最终,我们认为纹身墨水可用于预防和诊断疾病。



临时转移纹身也在经历一场高科技革命。 穿戴式电子纹身 that can sense electrophysiological signals like heart rate and brain activity or monitor hydration and glucose levels from sweat are under development.可以感知诸如心率和大脑活动之类的电生理信号或监测汗液中的水分和葡萄糖水平的信号正在开发中。 They can even be used for它们甚至可以用于 控制移动设备,例如,在有纹身的情况下重新整理音乐播放列表,或者 发光的人体艺术 照亮皮肤。

The advantage of these wearable tattoos is that they can use battery-powered electronics.这些可穿戴纹身的优点是它们可以使用电池供电的电子产品。 The disadvantage is that they are much less permanent and comfortable than traditional tattoos.缺点是它们不如传统纹身持久且舒适。 Likewise, electronic devices that go underneath the skin are being developed by同样,皮肤下面的电子设备也正在被开发 科学家, 设计师生物黑客 相似,但它们需要采用侵入性的外科手术进行植入。

Tattoos injected into the skin offer the best of both worlds: minimally invasive, yet permanent and comfortable.刺入皮肤的纹身提供了两全其美的方法:微创,持久且舒适。 New新 无针纹身方法 that fire microscopic ink droplets into the skin are now in development.现在正在开发将微小墨滴喷射到皮肤中的技术。 Once perfected they will make tattooing quicker and less painful.一旦完善,它们将使纹身更快,更轻松。


The color-changing tattoos in development are also going to open the door to a new kind of dynamic body art.正在开发中的变色纹身也将为新型动态人体艺术打开大门。 Now that tattoo colors can be changed by an electromagnetic signal, you'll soon be able to “program” your tattoo's design, or switch it on and off.现在可以通过电磁信号更改纹身的颜色,您很快就可以对纹身的设计进行“编程”,或者打开和关闭纹身了。 You can proudly display your neck tattoo at the motorcycle rally and still have clear skin in the courtroom.您可以在摩托车拉力赛中骄傲地展示自己的脖子纹身,而法庭上仍然有透明的皮肤。

As researchers develop dynamic tattoos, they'll need to study the safety of the high-tech inks.随着研究人员开发出动态纹身,他们将需要研究高科技墨水的安全性。 As it is, little is known about the safety of the more than 100 different pigments used in normal tattoo inks.实际上,对于普通纹身墨水中使用的XNUMX多种不同颜料的安全性知之甚少。 The的 美国食品和药物管理局 has not exercised regulatory authority over tattoo pigments, citing other competing public health priorities and a lack of evidence of safety problems with the pigments.尚没有对纹身颜料行使监管权,理由是其他竞争性公共卫生方面的优先考虑事项,以及缺乏有关颜料安全性问题的证据。 So US manufacturers can put whatever they want in tattoo inks and sell them without FDA approval.因此,美国制造商可以将任何想要的东西放入纹身墨水中,而无需FDA批准就可以出售。

到目前为止,有 没有证据表明纹身会致癌一项研究甚至发现黑色纹身可预防紫外线诱发的皮肤癌。 Still, many tattoo inks尽管如此,许多纹身墨水 包含或降解为已知有害的物质,包括感染,过敏和肉芽肿在内的健康并发症 在约2%的纹身中发现。 More research is needed to understand the long-term effects of nano- and microimplants in the skin in general.一般而言,需要更多的研究来了解纳米和微型植入物对皮肤的长期影响。

A wave of high-tech tattoos is slowly upwelling, and it will probably keep rising for the foreseeable future.高科技纹身的浪潮正在慢慢兴起,并且在可预见的未来可能还会继续上升。 When it arrives, you can decide to surf or watch from the beach.到达时,您可以决定在海滩冲浪或观看。 If you do climb on board, you'll be able to check your body temperature or UV exposure by simply glancing at one of your tattoos.如果您确实登上木板,则只需看一眼纹身就可以检查您的体温或紫外线暴露。谈话


Carson J Bruns,助理教授, 科罗拉多大学博尔德分校

本文重新发表 谈话 根据知识共享许可。 阅读 原创文章.




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