A tattoo that talks and sings? Yup, there’s an app for that

WASHINGTON — Would all the people who tattooed “Mother” on their arms have done it if they heard their mother’s voice every time they looked at it?

A startup company will soon make it possible to listen to a tattoo.

Skin Motion is a mobile app and platform for playing back sound wave tattoos,” said Nate Siggard, inventor and head of the company.

At the suggestion of his girlfriend, Juliana, Siggard has come up with a new way to experience skin art.

“In the past, when people would want to get a tattoo to commemorate the love of another person, the symbols they could use were only (visual) representations,” said Siggard.

“We’re able to take that data and play it back to the person, so that they can experience the media in multiple ways.”

Here’s how it works: Using a still-in-the-works app or online, a person who wants a sound wave tattoo will upload a recorded sound or video to the Skin Motion platform.

“Any way you can provide the data, we’ll be able to turn it into a sound wave, and give it to you, so it can be tattooed by one of our artists in the artists network,” said Siggard.

This week, the company began enlisting tattoo artists, who will be trained by videos and webinars to integrate sound waves into their art.

“The sound wave is created visually, in our app. The tattoo artist can customize the tattoo, so it’s more custom to the person getting it, as long they use the wave form in a way that’s within the guidelines,” said Siggard. “Some limitations are it has to be flat, and not bend around some body parts.”

After receiving the tattoo, the owner will take another picture of it with the app, “and within a few hours it’ll be able to play back, with the app.”

Asked how long the audio files can be, Siggard said “Right now we’re thinking they’re going to limited to a minute, but that’s an arbitrary number that could change.”

Siggard said he has a development version of the application that works with his tattoo, and he is self-funding work on the platform, which will make it possible for the public to playback the audio.

Since he’s hustling to get ready for launch, as video of the concept is spiking interest, and gathering a network of tattoo artists who can execute the sound waves, Siggard isn’t sure what the tattoos will cost.

“We don’t have that figured out yet,” he laughs. “I’m halfway to figuring out the cost of the tattoo will be just to service it.”

Skin Motion inventor Nate Siggard demonstrates how the platform works:

Nate Siggard’s girlfriend Juliana came up with the idea of being able to play audio tattoos.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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