This may seem strange coming from a man with more than a few tattoos, but I despise needles. Not only do I despise them, but I'm also terrified of them. When needles of any type are involved in a movie I hide my head under a blanket like a scaredy-cat, as I demand whoever I'm with to let me know when it's safe to come out from under my fluffy cocoon.
My desire for tattoos is the one thing that outweighs my fear. It's not easy. I still have to psyche myself up and do everything in my power to avoid looking at them while in the shop, but in the end it's worth it. But, hear me out here, what if I didn't have to worry about the needles? I could just go in and get a tattoo with minimal pain and no needle-induced anxiety. Believe it or not, this may very well be the future of tattooing.
Dutch scientists at the University of Twente have been looking into a way to eliminate needles from our lives. Tattoos aren't the main consideration here. The study is primarily focused on eliminating all of the toxic medical waste caused by used needles and easing the lives of people who have to receive medical injections. Not to mention calming all of the terrified children (including this very large child) in need of a vaccination.
David Fernández Rivas and his team have come up with a device that is able to inject the skin with medicine (or tattoo ink) without using a needle. Like all good future tech, this one uses lasers. Since our expertise is in the art realm, we're going to let the folks from ZME Science explain how the device works.
"The technique starts with a laser that rapidly heats a fluid inside a microchannel on a glass chip," the article explains. "This fluid is heated above its boiling point, causing a vapor bubble to form and grow, pushing the liquid out at speeds of up to 100 meters per second (360 km/h). The jet is capable of going through the human skin, and yet it produces almost no pain."
Sounds crazy, right? This thing can just shoot liquids, or possibly tattoo ink, through the skin causing virtually no pain. This would truly be a revolutionary invention. Even if it is never practically applicable for tattoos—we have no idea what this device would cost or how precise it would be in placing ink within the skin—it would completely change the medical world. No more kids crying before their vaccines. No more mountains of biohazard waste. And most importantly, I would no longer be a blubbering mess at the doctor's office.
To learn more about the device and to see it in action, please click here to check out a video from the University of Twente team.