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Turn Yourself Into A Musical Instrument With Electronic Tattoos

Media artist Dmitri Morozov has created a process that “reads” tattoos, translating them into electronic sound.


First American artist Anthony Antonellis turned himself into a quasi-cyborg with his “digital tattoo” project, implanting a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip device in his hand. Once inserted, the chip emitted graphics able to be viewed anywhere by smartphone. Now Moscow-based media artist and musician Dmitri Morozov has evolved a process that “reads” tattoos, translating external ink into electronic sound—no surgery required.


Reading My Body, the latest in a series of electronic explorations from Morozov, uses everything from barcodes to robotics to produce rare abstract sounds. As PSFK noted, this device can best explained as “a sound controller that reads tattoos much like a musical score.” Morozov hopes this invention will be used as a form of musical instrument, merging the human body with a robotics system into “a single entity that is designed to automate creative process in an attempt to represent the artist and his instrument as a creative hybrid.”

The design consists of a plank filled with sensors that move along the arm using a stepper motor. The device is also equipped with a 3-dimensional Wii remote control that utilizes OSC protocol allowing for hand-sensor movement. While Morozov’s tattoo was specifically designed to trigger the instrument, the device can be programmed to operate automatically or manually for an infinite number of variations:

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Finally, something more unique than that nautical star or Sailor Jerry tattoo you got in high school.