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Home » Futuristic Tattoos That React to the World Around You: Carson Bruns (Transcript)

Futuristic Tattoos That React to the World Around You: Carson Bruns (Transcript)

Carson Bruns

Carson Bruns is a researcher in the interdisciplinary field of molecular nanotechnology, with a focus on soft materials. In this talk, nanotechnologist Carson Bruns demonstrates futuristic tattoos that aren’t just beautiful, but functional too.


I’d like to introduce you to an interesting person named Ötzi. He lives in Italy at the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology because he’s a mummy.

This is an artist rendition of what he might have looked like when he was alive, 5,300 years ago. You want to see what he looks like today? Okay, brace yourselves, gross mummy pic coming at you. He’s not as handsome as he used to be, but he’s actually in great shape for a mummy because he was discovered frozen in ice.

Ötzi is the oldest mummy that’s been discovered with preserved skin 5,300 years is super old, older than the Egyptian pyramids. And Ötzi’s skin is covered in 61 black tattoos, all lines and crosses, on parts of his body where he might have experienced pain, so scientists think that they might have been used to mark sites for some kind of therapy, like acupuncture.

So clearly, if the oldest skin we’ve seen is all tattooed up, tattooing is a very ancient practice. But fast forward to today, and tattoos are everywhere. Almost one in four Americans has a tattoo. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry.

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