Barcode tattoo has a lot of thought put into it

This bar code tattoo was sent into us by [Lifespan]. Before going under the needle, [Lifespan] didn’t care much for tattoos. After seeing this video he realized that a tattoo could have dynamic content through domain redirection.

[Lifespan] spent a lot of time going over the different styles of 2D bar codes. QR codes were deemed ugly because of the three large squares in the corners. An EZ Code, like the one in his YouTube inspiration, are a proprietary format that must be read with a ScanLife app. He eventually settled on a Data Matrix bar code because of its open format and ubiquity in business and industry. To make the tattoo dynamic, [Lifespan] made the tattoo point to 5id5.com. With a little bit of smart phone wizardry, that domain can be redirected to any URL in a moments notice.

Like all well-planned tattoos, he found himself a very good artist to do the piece. [Connor Moore] managed to ink some skin at 15 dpi, which was a little risky, but the results came out great. While it’s not scarification via a laser cutter, barring fading this tattoo is technologically future proof.

Comments

  1. KillerBug says:

    That should save him some time when the government forces everyone to get one.

    • Pup says:

      Conspiracy Theorists say the Darndest Things.

    • Aaron says:

      Nah, the Mark of the Beast uses a totally different format.

      (Unrelated: He decided QR codes were ugly, and then got *that*? No arguing with taste, I guess, but jeez…)

  2. Gumnos says:

    And if he forgets to renew his domain-registration? A little less future-proof…

    • Andrew Champ says:

      That’s what I was thinking. #LULZ

    • thecolor says:

      I was also worried that if not his domain what if the company went out of business, or what about when urls (as we currently know and use them today) die. Future proof, I suppose for the person that has a machine capable of running a dns and web server that can re-direct to the “newest” web technology (even if it’s as old as an eight-track).

  3. Aaron says:

    “…barring fading this tattoo is technologically future proof.”

    With a commentariat like this one, that’s kinda sticking your chin out a bit, don’t you think?

    It’s a nifty tattoo, even if I don’t see the idea of a meat tag being terribly appealing for my own self, but what I’d worry about is not so much fading as blur — tattoo lines, especially narrow and heavily inked lines, will spread out over time. It’s a slow process — for example, my wife’s got some tattoos over a decade old, and they’re only showing a little blur so far. With most designs, it doesn’t harm the image for the lines to blur, but looking at this, I wonder if it’ll still be readable in fifteen or twenty years.

    • Sven says:

      Well if i remember my tattoo-artist right, this is the most difficult position, to ink a body, as on the wrists the ink starts spreading really fast. so it can happen, that in 5 years, everything someone sees is not a barcode, but an ugly black blob.

      sad to say, but this will probably not last long…

      • Les says:

        Exactly what I was thinking. I have one on my back with even bigger lines and it’s a blurry smudge after 10 years. There’s a reason that tattoos don’t tend to have fine detail work.

  4. Toner says:

    Tattoos are so tacky and trashy! This “Hack” should be entitled: How young brainless idiots with no foresight can wear their stupidity forever.

    I wonder if when he’s 35, we’ll be seeing a home made tramp stamp removal and skin graft hack from him?

    • Barefoot says:

      Tattoos are so tacky and trashy!
      You are entitled to your opinion, no matter how wrong you are.

      This “Hack” should be entitled: How young brainless idiots with no foresight can wear their stupidity forever.
      Get out much, grandpa? People of all ages are getting tattoos these days – it doesn’t have the stigma you are desperately holding on too. And besides, this contributes to the conversation how?

      I wonder if when he’s 35, we’ll be seeing a home made tramp stamp removal and skin graft hack from him?
      Gramps, this is NOT a tramp stamp. You really need to get out more and look at some pretty girls!

      (Fully expecting this comment to be flagged, but I really hate it when people come across with a holier-than-thou attitude and condemn the rest of society because of their own shallow and short-sighted opinions.)

      • Toner says:

        Ok, You’re probably covered in tattoo’s, you’ve figured out they don’t come off. You’re embarrassed.
        Defense is yoor natural option given your choices.
        Understandable. By getting a tattoo you’ve embedded yourself at the low end of the socio-economic pecking order and at the cheesiest extrmities of throw-away pop culture. You’re a minority. Live with your choice. You’re useful in that others can learn from your choice and avoid your scenario. Social dawinism. Human Billboards rule!

      • Toner says:

        “I really hate it when people come across with a holier-than-thou attitude and condemn the rest of society because of their own shallow and short-sighted opinions”

        If only you understood irony. :-)

      • Toner, says:

        It’s difficult to get anything past HaD’s censors, they seem to want to tailor opinion to their own prerequisites. Having said that here goes nothing.

        Barefoot say’s:

        blah… “and condemn the rest of society because of their own shallow and short-sighted opinions.”

        Shallow and short sighted? Are you serious? Could you explain to everyone just how profound and insightful it is to be permanently tattooed with an ugly barcode?

        Come on HaD, this isn’t North Korea.

      • Jeff Wallin says:

        This is coming from someone without a single tattoo. Toner, what your saying makes absolutely no sense. The point of a tattoo is to leave a little mark that lets you stand out from the rest of the world by merely spending some money. I would agree that getting barbedwire or skulls is tacky but I just dont think hack a day is the proper forum for that discussion…. Maybe over dinner with your kids would be a better choice? This is a hack in that he is marking himself with a physical link to a digital enviroment.

    • ez says:

      Humans have been inking themselves since tribal times. Why get so worked up, no ink on your skin. Trashy tattoos are trashy, but that hardly affects you.

      If anything your comment suggests resentment and bitterness to what you percieve as wasted/ruined youth.

      • Toner, says:

        Since when has the “Well, illiterate tribes people living in dirt did it so it must be cool” defense been a positive endorsement of anything? Seriously.
        They got Tattooed, the rest of us evolved.

    • Bob says:

      Simply because you think they are tacky or trashy doesn’t mean every one does. I got my first ink at 18 and despite a bit of displeasure with my choice of artist, I don’t regret it a bit and I’m 30 now. What I do not like is that due to my profession (EE) I have to keep all my ink situated such that it is covered up with a t-shirt due to people like yourself that attach stereotypes to tattoos. I consider myself to be very professional and intelligent, as do the people I work with. Aside from that, my tattoos are for me, not you or anyone else. So, the “human billboard” comment does not apply to people who get them for personal reasons such as myself.

      • Toner, says:

        An overt, indelible, elective body worn display that you say is solely for your private consumption, yet impacts on the way you dress for the sake of employment and makes you have to assert that you really are intelligent.

        Sounds like you got a bargain! I have a bridge in Texas for sale if you’re interested?

  5. theodore says:

    Ok but when he has grandchildren will his tattoo still have the same message?

  6. Quite dumb to do that, let the algorithms recognize your face and you are done..

    • sneakypoo says:

      Because it’s not like facial recognition software is sophisticated enough to pick your face out of a crowd as it is…

  7. xorpunk says:

    “Like all well-planned tattoos” to getting data tattooed on skin…lulz

  8. Tony says:

    This is awesome!

    (With HaD’s new ‘comments can only contain ponies & sunshine’, this will be the only one left.)

    • xorpunk says:

      They cant have the content producers criticized, cause it effects their ad revenue when they snub the site like that one lady did on twitter..

      I’m sure they have their own way of saying it that is PR friendly..

  9. bob says:

    FTFY: “barring fading and spreading this tattoo is technologically future proof”

    5 years max until it becomes unscanable. 10 years until the barcode is not recognisable as such. 30 years until it’s a big blobby mess.

  10. zipztick says:

    Shoulda bought a jacket with I’m a retard printed on the back, at least he’d have to option to take it off and put the whole incident behind him at some future date.

  11. cdilla says:

    As a documented art project its OK, but I side with most of the negative comments with regards tats.
    What would be cool is a technology that allows reversible/updateable wash and wearproof skin decoration.

  12. Mental2k says:

    Couldn’t he have it re-inked whenever the blur is sufficiently bad?

    • sneakypoo says:

      Do you mean that he should fill in the spaces between the blocks with white? Barring that I don’t see how it would help.

  13. DainBramage1991 says:

    It’s a very bold statement to claim that this is “technologically future proof”. I think it would be safe to assume that Lifespan will still be around in 40 years, and it would be equally safe to assume that in 40 years our current network technologies will be regarded as quaint relics. The reason I use 40 years as a benchmark is because my father still has his Navy tattoos from 40 years ago, and they have not stretched or lost any detail – not even the ones on his forearms.

  14. Doktor Jeep says:

    Is it acceptable to have a simple train of numbers, like a SSN, tattoed on my arm now?

  15. RobertM says:

    I thought about a QR code with the words “Emergency Medial Information” that linked to a website. I know they have the RFID medical implants but I am not sure they are wide spread. With a QR code someone would be more likely to have a phone that could scan it and go to the URL. I hate wearing bracelets, necklaces, or rings. It’s an idea, I would probably never do it.

    • sneakypoo says:

      That would work great until you’re in an accident where part of your skin is scraped, covered in blood, burned, covered up by clothing or just plain missing :)

  16. dexter says:

    The future is now. So yeah, future proof…

  17. Willy says:

    lol I can’t scan it with my phone…

  18. psmay says:

    I like the idea, but I think the code needs more quiet zone. My phone’s having trouble reading it.

    • psmay says:

      Also, it reminds me a bit of Idiocracy (in particular, the main character who was coded by an inept computer with the name “Not Sure”).

  19. hpux735 says:

    Wow, the comment system certainly was tested this time!!

    I certainly wouldn’t say it’s future proof, but at the same time, I don’t see how I have any right to get upset about it.

    B.t.w., that’s some real nice racisim there, @Toner, too bad the report comment link is gone. To imply that tribal peoples aren’t as evolved as you are is extremely presumptuous and simply inaccurate.

    • Toner, says:

      hpux735 blurbed:

      “B.t.w., that’s some real nice racisim there, @Toner, too bad the report comment link is gone. To imply that tribal peoples aren’t as evolved as you are is extremely presumptuous and simply inaccurate.”

      Care to elaborate?

      • hpux735 says:

        You claim, for example, that tribal people that get tattooed did not evolve.

        “They got Tattooed, the rest of us evolved.”

        Therefore, you seem to believe that you, who I assume is not tattooed, and is from a proud lineage of non-tattooed people, are more evolved than those people that are members of a tribe, and are tattooed. I think there are many people in this world that would fit the description of a tattooed tribe member that are far more evolved than you, because they don’t spend their day trolling websites.

      • Stevie says:

        Well Duh! “Stamp tramp” is obviously racist!! *rolls eyes*

    • Toner, says:

      hpux735 says:

      You claim, for example, that tribal people that get tattooed did not evolve.

      “They got Tattooed, the rest of us evolved.”

      I’d stop before you embarrass yourself further.

      They lived in dirt, had little technology, little medicine, primative culture, univeral illiteracy
      primative sanitation and low life expectancy. Some bright spark above is clinging to that as a positive and emulateable trait. If that floats your boat, well fine. I won’t be holding it up as a prime example of enlightened exhistence. As for racism, just what race are tribes-people? I’m eager to find out. You PC indoctrinated kneejerk cretins make my asshole pucker!

    • Adrian says:

      I agree with you, although I would amend “racism” to ethnocentrism, as the tribes could easily be the same race as Toner but are obviously a different cultural group. Either way, its showing some ugly ignorance :)

      • Toner, says:

        Adrian,

        Frame it in terms of chronology,

        “ez says:
        August 23, 2011 at 8:41 am

        Humans have been inking themselves since tribal times.”

        Even ez concludes that there is something antiquated, archane and primative about being tattooed. He’s correct, even though that isn’t the point he’s trying to make, because he infers
        that its primativeness is somehow admirable. It isn’t and that is why tattooing is still a niche pursuit popular in prisons and undertaken mainly by the superficial, bottom of the socio-economic
        ladder. If that’s what you wish to aspire to, be my guest.

      • Adrian says:

        Haha Toner, you are a trip. You misrepresent Ez as saying “that there is something antiquated, archane and primative about being tattooed” merely because he mentions that “Humans have been inking themselves since tribal times”. Well, guess what. People have been eating, drinking, and fucking since tribal times too – guess you don’t do any of those, since they are “antiquated and primitive”, do you? Regardless, we get it – you hate tattoos. Thank you for your opinion :)

      • Toner, says:

        Adrien responded:

        “People have been eating, drinking, and fucking since tribal times too – guess you don’t do any of those, since they are “antiquated and primitive”, do you? Regardless, we get it – you hate tattoos. Thank you for your opinion :)”

        I don’t hate Tattoos I hate the self imposed consignment to underclass, shallowness and cheesy brainless pop culture that they represent. Personal grafitti. Also, you might want to add cranial trepanning, exorcism and ingesting uranium for health reasons to your list of admirable ol’ time goodness. I hear that brushing your teeth with U-235 gives the hippest smile! ;)

      • Adrian says:

        Toner said:
        “I hear that brushing your teeth with U-235 gives the hippest smile! ;)”

        I’ll have to try that some time – hackaday’s next article should be on making U-235 in your backyard for just this purpose!

  20. Will Heineman says:

    You do realize that these codes have some amount of error correction built in, right? This is gonna last a LONG time!

    Check this out:
    http://punkymonkey1818.deviantart.com/art/Death-of-Music-QR-252376590

    Still scans, but is not sharp, and has a logo over 30% of it!

  21. XiuiX says:

    Can’t scan it

    :/

  22. Isotope says:

    the new comment filtering is working so well

  23. thedingo says:

    Hi folks, this is [Lifespan]

    Of course it isn’t future proof, since nothing ever is. Especially when you consider that tattoos continue to fade and spread, the chance of the code being readable in 10+ years is very very low. That’s why I at least made sure I liked the design, code working or not. I figure that even 10 years from now, I could still whip up some mobile app to use the design for AR.

    Instead it’s about as close as I can get to future proof in that the code is tied to some of the most basic and well established services on the web. The domain is tied up for 10 years with a 10 year auto-renewal.

    As far as people not being able to read it with their phone, you are correct. From experimenting I found that attempting to scan a picture of a code (ie a picture of a picture) rarely works due to washed out contrast, odd lighting, and perspective issues. You are also correct that the biggest hurdle is the whitespace, it came out a little too close to the code and I would definitely suggest anyone else give a much bigger buffer zone. That said, any phone with a good camera and an app that read real time data from the camera (iPhone4 with Scanlife seems to be the best I have tried, but I have not tried many Android devices with it yet) can pick it up in person easily. Sadly my own phone (Samsung Focus) doesn’t work with it today because WP7 doesn’t support direct camera access by third party apps until Mango. It should start working in the next month or two when the updated apps show up.

    • Toner, says:

      Who’s going to walk up to a stranger in a bid to scan a barcode on their arm? Any takers?

      Say you negotiated the awkwardness of the procedure, you overcome any reluctance to approach, the guy with the barcode had time to wait while you mess about shooting it, would the information gained be worth the effort?

      I honestly don’t see the point, (outside of simple attention seeking narcissism.)

      It’s the body nodification equivalent of the self switching-off machine.

  24. Anon says:

    @Toner

    There are two scenarios here.

    1) You got a tattoo at some point, probably including the name of your wife/girlfriend at the time. She subsequently left you (though who could imagine leaving such a charming and open-minded individual as yourself?), and now you are left with a permanent reminder or removal scars of a love that is long gone.

    2) Your head is so firmly lodged up your ass that you cannot see the ignorance that is dripping from each of your comments. No one’s tattoo affects you one bit, so get off it. You mention that tattoos are trashy and that getting them is only the pastime of those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. Have you seen Hollywood lately? How about professional sports. Plenty of people, making more money in a year than you will see in a lifetime see no problems getting inked.

    At the end of the day, tattoos are not only limited to bikers, criminals, and those at the bottom of the income scale.

    They are not a big deal any more, grandpa, get with the times.

    /does not have tattoos
    //sees no reason to get one
    ///doesn’t care what others do to THEIR bodies

    • Toner, says:

      I guess the moral of the story is, if you want to indelibly print shit on your body for whatever your reasons might be. Don’t expect not to be laughed at by people with more sense. ;) Tee hee!

      • Barefoot says:

        No, sir, not by people with more sense, but by people who talk louder because they are shallow, ignorant, semi-literate, and self-righteous. You rely on false logic and an extremely limited view of the world and the many cultures that live in it. As mentioned above, we get it. We understand you probably more than you understand yourself.

    • Toner, says:

      Barefoot says:

      “No, sir, not by people with more sense, but by people who talk louder because they are shallow”

      How do you talk louder textually? I don’t recall using caps at all!?

      “ignorant”

      Of what exactly? Ignorant of the complexity and nuaced cultural mores of redneck body adornments?

      “semi-literate”

      Now you;re just projecting!

      “self-righteous.”

      No, not at all, just simply concise.

      “You rely on false logic and an extremely limited view of the world”

      If I thought you could string a coherent sentence together I’d ask you to prove your assertion.

      “and the many cultures that live in it.”

      The odds are in favour of you never having left small town America while lecturing others on global culture.

      “As mentioned above, we get it.”

      No you don’t.

      “We understand you probably more than you understand yourself.”

      Dream on buddy! ;)

  25. t&p says:

    bah… to each their own.
    If I was going to do something like this, I would be chipped in the hand. Cheap, easy, $35.
    I think HAD had something like this years ago.
    Home automation with a wave of the hand sounds stargate atlantis cool.

  26. thecolor says:

    Well, not to stray to far from the topic, but I think a chip in the body is cool; however, the body needs some sort of cap/plug… you can cover a small hole that can house the chip, for easy removal, replacement, etc.

    Kinda of like those that get piercings, just have it heal solid underneath (like the belly button – assuming it’s an inny) and presto, instant chip holding area. ;)

    Perhaps in the faux stigmata area – palm (for those non-religious types) :) Perfect for hand waving and deep enough of a tissue area to allow a sink whole and plug. :)

  27. Tech B. says:

    Big lol to this Toner guy/girl. Assuming it’s a guy due to women tending to be more open minded. People like him/her make me glad I am alive, the shear ignorance and sheltered existence is amusing.

    Anyway, back to the tattoo. I like the idea of interactive body art. I’ve seen somewhere on the interwebs of a guy who had a tattoo that was recognized by some augmented reality program. Really interesting stuff. My next ink will probably be an MD5 check sum of my handle or something.

    I found the video about the augmented tattoo:

    • Toner, says:

      Shear means to cleave, Sheer is the word you’re looking for. It really helps if you can speak you own language before calling other people ignorant.