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How Electronic Tattoos Work

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Author's Note
Senior Staff Writer Robert Lamb
Senior Staff Writer Robert Lamb
HowStuffWorks 2009

What is our cybernetic future? Well, for starters, we have to consider our cybernetic present. Billions of modern humans are technologically augmented in some way, shape or form. Is there a tiny computer strapped to your wrist or plugged into your ears? Do artificial lenses help you see? We already live in a cybernetic age, and it's not a trend I see us abandoning anytime soon.

The Borg from "Star Trek" represent a nightmarish vision of the cyborg, embodying the fear that our technology will twist us into a grotesque and machinelike existence. And who knows? Maybe it will. Maybe it has already. But the development of epidermal electronic systems represents a bright point in our steady march toward the dawning of the man-machine. Increasingly, we force the technological world to conform to human physiology, human form and human life. The cyborg of the future, then, becomes a creature in which humanity is augmented rather than diminished.

Of course, not every human tendency demands mechanical enrichment -- but that's a different nightmare altogether.

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