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JC Sheitan Tenet on Facebook
JC Sheitan Tenet on Facebook

Artist's Prosthetic Arm Includes Working Tattoo Machine

JC Sheitan Tenet on Facebook
JC Sheitan Tenet on Facebook

When JC Sheitan Tenet of Lyons, France lost his right hand, he was forced to learn how to use his left to do everything that his dominant hand once did—including making body art. Eventually, Gizmag reports, he got help in the form of a "biomechanical prosthesis" that features a built-in tattoo machine.

Along with fellow artist JL Gonzal, Sheitan designed and built a custom arm out of a real prosthesis, typewriter, record player, and sewing machine parts, and all the necessary elements of a standard tattooing machine. The result was a functional prosthesis, and though the artist still uses his left hand for line and detail work, he then has the option to switch to his right to fill in spaces.

In an interview with Motherboard, Tenet explained that the custom arm began as a "kinetic sculpture," but reactions from the public inspired him and Gonzal to find a way to make it more practical. The artist uses his shoulder to move the arm, but says that future prototypes will ideally have wrist mobility and movable fingers for improved dexterity.

Take a look at the video below to see Tenet and his custom arm at work.

[h/t Gizmag]

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Harvard University, YouTube
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Health
'Smart' Tattoos Could Monitor Your Blood Sugar
Harvard University, YouTube
Harvard University, YouTube

Wearable health-monitoring devices are nothing new, but consumer-grade models are usually limited in function and have a cool factor usually associated with mall walkers.

Now, there's some new hope on the horizon: a tattoo ink that's able to provide its owner with real-time health assessments.

According to Nerdist and first reported by the Harvard Gazette, researchers at Harvard and MIT have broken ground—or technically, skin—on a procedure that uses a special kind of ink to evaluate certain health markers. This "smart" tattoo ink can assess an individual’s blood sugar level, a benefit to diabetics; another biosensor tattoo can measure dehydration levels. If the ink detects a shift, it changes colors. (Nerdist calls it a "mood ring" for your health.)

The project, dubbed "DermalAbyss," was mounted when postdoctoral fellows at both universities wanted to address drawbacks in current wearable health tech. Battery life is one factor; wireless connectivity is another. But "smart" ink doesn't need either. The ink responds to changes in the wearer's interstitial fluid, which can provide information on glucose levels and sodium concentration.

The researchers note that they'll need to continue to experiment with the ink (currently being tested on pig skin) to make sure it doesn't diffuse or fade. For people who might want the benefits of such monitoring without having a portrait on their arm, the team also suggests an "invisible" ink that can be seen only when observed under the light of a smartphone. 

[h/t Nerdist]

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Big Questions
How Does Tattoo Removal Work?
iStock
iStock

You may have felt the regret that sometimes accompanies a mixture of alcohol, impulsive behavior, and a conveniently-located tattoo parlor. Or maybe your artist fudged one of 2015’s trendy watercolor tattoos. If the time has come to erase a dermatological mistake, laser tattoo removal is the answer. But how does it work?

It helps to understand how tattoos become permanent fixtures under your epidermis in the first place. As a stabbing tattoo needle plunges under the top layer of skin, it injects tiny ink particles; those particles are considered a foreign invader by your body, which attempts to marshal forces of white blood cells to address the perceived threat. But the ink particles are too big, and so they remain—mostly. Over time, the particles can break down, allowing the body to carry them off bit by bit. It’s why tattoos can begin to fade after a few years. Unfortunately, that's not fast enough for some poorly-rendered markings.

Lasers speed up this process. The light breaks up the pigment, allowing the body to do what it wanted to do in the first place, which was to get rid of your pocket watch tattoo as quickly as possible. Because the laser is adjusted for different color pigments, it won’t etch away your natural skin color.

Once the pigment particles have been carried off, your lymphatic system takes care of the rest. The remnants of your mistake are routed to the liver, where it can be processed as waste. Technically, that means your tattoo will eventually be pooped out and your questionable judgment flushed away.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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