The world of tattooing continues to merge with the world of technology in new and fascinating ways. This time, tattoos meet augmented reality in the form of “soundwave tattoos.” A soundwave tattoo allows you to have up to one minute of audio tattooed on your body. The tattoo is based on the shape of an audio signal, aka a soundwave, and with an app called Skin Motion, you can listen to the corresponding audio. Skin Motion is set to launch in June 2017, and there is already enormous interest in the idea.
There is a great video on the Skin Motion website featuring a woman who wanted to get the sound of her dog howling tattooed on her arm. She loaded the audio file of her dog’s howl into the app, and that audio clip produced a corresponding wave image. The image was then printed out on transfer paper, which is used to place the image of the soundwave on the skin. After that, a certified Skin Motion tattoo artist can tattoo the exact soundwave onto your body and even add surrounding embellishments, as long as the image of the soundwave is intact and clear. The woman who had her dog’s howl tattooed on her arm also had her dog’s head tattooed around the soundwave to make the design unique. Now all she needs to do is open the Skin Motion app, hover it over the tattoo, and the app will play the sound of her dog howling.
Los Angeles based tattoo artist Nate Siggard, the founder of Skin Motion, got the idea when two of his friends were tattooed with the opening line of Elton John’s "Tiny Dancer". His girlfriend commented that it would be great if you could actually listen to it. That comment was the catalyst for a new innovation in the tattooing world. Nate realized it was possible, and the first soundwave tattoo ever created was of his girlfriend’s and baby’s voice. After posting the video of his soundwave tattoo on Facebook, it went viral, and he became aware that he had a marketable idea.
The practice is still in early development as the app hasn’t been officially released yet. The first step is to build a widespread network of artists who are interested in getting certified to perform soundwave tattoos. The certification is required so that artists understand the limitations of the technology. There are specific parameters that the artists need to be aware of, so they can customize designs without messing up. The last thing they want is for you to have a tattoo that isn't compatible with the app. For the app to work, it is important to use the right tattoo placement and size. So if you want a session with a certified soundwave artist, head over to the website and put your name on the waiting list because it is growing quickly. As they get a grasp on the technology, they are hoping to expand the capability of the app so that Skin Motion can play audio based on soundwave tattoos that people already have. If it catches on, you can bet that we will be seeing even more technological capabilities evolve with this app.