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Augmented Reality Tattoo Becomes Video, When Snapped On Smartphone

Snap a picture of the matrix code embedded into the tattoo art, and an animated film will play back on your smartphone. Marco will have a ball with this at bars, no doubt.

Augmented Reality Tattoo Becomes Video, When Snapped On Smartphone

The QR code craze has kind of jumped the shark, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t still seeing them popping up like weeds everywhere we look. The latest location: on the chest of a French dude named Marco, in the form of a tattoo. Snap a picture of the matrix code embedded into the tattoo art, and an animated film will play back on your smartphone. Marco will have a ball with this at bars, no doubt.

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The tattoo was applied by Paris-based artist Karl Marc, who gave Co.Design some interesting intel about Marco’s design. First off, it’s not a “true” QR code, but rather a simpler “EZ Code” which can only be read with an app called ScanLife. “The code must be done quite large in order to provide room for the artist to apply it correctly,” Marc says. “A true QR code would have to be at least 10 cm wide to work properly, and not many clients want a tattoo of a QR code that large!” Also, the EZ Code’s large blocky design will ensure that it’ll continue to work even as it fades and smears with age.

But the best part, says Marc, is that unlike normal tattoos, Marco’s body art will be able to change and adapt along with him: after all, he can change what the EZ Code links to anytime he wants. Today an artsy animation, tomorrow an video clip of his favorite band, the next day — who knows? Of course the fun’s over whenever EZ Code software becomes obsolete, but since when has anyone getting a tattoo really thought clearly about its future implications? That kind of defeats the whole purpose. And besides, an intriguingly inscrutable graphic pattern is still better than living with your ex-wife’s name inked into your flesh for the rest of your days.

[Read more about Karl Marc’s augmented reality tattoo]

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About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets

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