When one thinks of tattoo, the sense out of the five senses that comes to mind the quickest is sight. Without vision, a tattoo cannot be seen and any meaning it had is lost. For this reason, you may think that it is pointless for the blind to get tattoos. This was certainly the case until recently when a student named Klara Jirkova designed a braille tattoo specifically for blind people.


Braille Tattoo

(An example of a braille tattoo on the arm)

This “tattoo” relies on certain medical implants to be placed under the skin, lifting sections of the skin up so the “tattoo” can be read by touch. While this seems like an interesting innovation that should capture much interest, there are several reasons why this new kind of tattoo will not catch on.

First and foremost, getting such a tattoo is very intrusive. It requires that metal objects be placed under your skin. This in itself may turn many people away from getting such a tattoo. Another reason that implants are ineffective is the fact that they do not last forever and therefore are not permanent. These implants would have to be repaired, changed, or renewed every so often and this could easily get expensive and annoying to do.

Secondly, braille tattoos do not look all that appeasing to those who are not blind. The raised bumps on the skin can easily be mistaken as a form of skin disease. Since skin diseases are often infectious, this may cause people to avoid you. Besides being seen as a disease, most people would agree that the raised bumps on the skin are just plain Ugly. While this may not mean much to the blind person who cannot see it, it may have a negative effect on his or her social standing.


Braille Tattoo

(Braille tattoo on hand as form of identification)

Thirdly, the creator stated that these tattoos can be used as a form of identification between two blind people as having these tattoos on the hands or fingers would make it easier to recognize someone when they shake hands. This, however, fails to make much sense. Blindness and muteness are two very distinct things. Just because a person is blind, does not mean he is also mute. The vast majority of blind people can talk so communication during a meeting is hardly ever a problem between two blind people.

Lastly, tattoos that can be recognized by the blind are not entirely a new concept. In fact, people in Africa have had methods to tattoo the blind for centuries. Their process is called scarification, or the cutting of skin into patterns. At first, this may sound painful, but people who have seen or have experience with both methods generally agree that scarification is less intrusive than implants. Furthermore, tattoos gained by scarification will not be mistaken as skin disease and are permanent.

Although braille tattoos may seem like a great concept at first, there are many reasons why it will not be a catchy trend. The inconvenience of getting and maintaining one of these tattoos and the fact that there is an older and better method to get tattoos for the blind have made braille tattoos obsolete before they were even invented.