How Animated Tattoos Work

The Control Module

The control module is the brain of the PSVI
The control module is the brain of the PSVI

If the LCD is the heart of the animated tattoo, then the control module is the brain. The control module comprises three major parts: the microprocessor, the wireless receiver and the software drivers for the LCD display.

The control module allows the images in a PSVI to be animated. It sends the proper voltage down the grid to manipulate the pixels. It also makes it possible to input and change images. Most of the details about the processor are a closely guarded secret, but basically, it has a tiny bit of flash memory to store the image and the software that it runs. All of the software, drivers and associated applications that are used in PSVIs were written by Singer and are compatible with Windows-based machines.

The control module is programmed wirelessly. It receives data using a small integrated wireless receiver. The PSVI module receives FM signals from a specially-made transmitter that Singer designed.

Carl A. Pinter, PSVI tattoo artist and Singer's business partner, does the bulk of the design, programming and installation work for the animated tattoos. Pinter discusses animated tattoo programming: "I don't know if I'd call it programming even though Sean [Singer] does. The thing to know about this programming is that it's not easy, fun or fast. If you want me to make a design or a change you better have a lot of time on your hands...and money."

Next, we'll look at how the tattoos are powered.