Apple Watch And A Tattoo? We Have Some Alternatives

The Apple Watch heart monitor might not work if you have a tattoo on your wrist. Here are some things we suggest to hipsters with this problem.

David Wagner, Executive Editor, Community & IT Life

May 2, 2015

3 Min Read
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10 Apple Watch Apps For Business, Productivity

10 Apple Watch Apps For Business, Productivity

10 Apple Watch Apps For Business, Productivity (Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Oh the humanity! Hipsters must now choose between their tattoos and their Apple Watch.

It has been reported that some types of tattoo ink mess with the LED light sensors that determine blood flow in the arm and monitor the heart rate in the Apple Watch. Considering the Apple Watch is just a really expensive fitness tracker with a couple of side functions, like alerting you to a text (and by the way, those functions aren't always working either), this is a bigger deal than it first sounds.

No heart rate monitor. No real fitness tracker.

But don't worry folks. The Geekend is here for you. I have several plans for you to get around this problem.

First, if you were planning on that wrist tattoo but you haven't gotten it, I have several other, even cooler options.

First, I suggest a QR code on your tongue.

For Geekend readers this has several advantages. First, if you have a job interview with a stuffy company, they will never see it. Second, you can set up the QR code to hold information. You could have it go to your website. The next time you go to Interop or another show, instead of carrying business cards, you can have everyone you meet scan your tongue. Most importantly, if you ever need to ship yourself, UPS will know exactly where to send you.

Or try any of these 25 ideas, only a couple of which are on the wrist.

I love the dude with the "pen" tattooed over his ear, at the 40 second mark.

If you have your heart set on a tattoo on your wrist, might I suggest a smart tattoo to power the Apple Watch? In 2014, a research from University of California at San Diego created a smart tattoo. It is a temporary tattoo attached to the skin. The tattoo can actually generate and store power from the lactic acid you build up in your muscles when you exercise. Right now, it couldn't power much of anything, but researchers believe one day they'll be able to power a smartphone, which means they could power your watch, too.

Work out and charge your fitness monitor at the same time? That's a win-win. If you decide you hate that "Carpe Diem" wrist tattoo you got when you were 18, you can't change it. But you can change your smart tattoo every day.

The company behind the Fitbit is suggesting tattoos with actual digital abilities for security, NFC payments, and health-tracking (so you can ditch the watch entirely). But considering this area of technology is being called "physically invasive wearables," we're going to assume people will balk at that.

So, what happens if you already have the wrist tattoo? I suggest using the other wrist.

If you've got ink on both arms, maybe a Fitbit is a better call.

[ Speaking of Fitbits, they were the inspiration for how one CEO is changing employee feedback. Read Betterworks CEO: Treat Feedback Like a Fitbit. ]

But I have no doubt Apple is already working on a device for removing tattoos that is ten times more expensive than current technology, and that you'll have to wait in line forever for, but "just works."

About the Author(s)

David Wagner

Executive Editor, Community & IT Life

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, leadership, and innovation. He has also been a freelance writer for many top consulting firms and academics in the business and technology sectors. Born in Silver Spring, Md., he grew up doodling on the back of used punch cards from the data center his father ran for over 25 years. In his spare time, he loses golf balls (and occasionally puts one in a hole), posts too often on Facebook, and teaches his two kids to take the zombie apocalypse just a little too seriously. 

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