It is Time for R-Toos™

by Stephen D. Bryen

Sponsored by SDB Partners (

QR CODES – square barcodes that store information – are all around us.  Scanned by equally ubiquitous smart phones, you find QR CODES on bus advertising, t-shirts, business cards, catalogues and grocery store shelves. The data links and Internet connections are fast and easy, linking consumers to consumer information.

That makes this a great time for R-Toos™.

Not an actual tattoo or a small “Star Wars” robot, an R-Too™ is a wearable, semi-permanent tattoo of a QR CODE that would link to a cloud connection with information you want to share.  Your R-Too™ could be linked to your company’s homepage, your social networking page, your phone number, e-mail address or other information.  You choose what you put on the cloud – meaning, as with all exposed information, that you have to choose wisely.

An R-Too™ can be applied to your head, arm or other body part using a machine or transfer for semi-permanent ink or henna.  If the right definition can be achieved, an R-Too™ can be a real tattoo – the design would then be permanent, only the information on the cloud would change.  The medium doesn’t matter; what matters is that people will have a quick way to communicate the way people like to do now – by playing with their smart phones.

R-Toos™ are a great idea because in modern society, sharing information in useable bits is what we do – social, business, educational.

If you want a practical application, consider child security.  There are parents who implant chips in their children as an identification measure – if the child is lost or kidnapped, the chip provides definitive information.  It seems a little bit radical, however, and the chip can only be read by the limited number of people with special equipment – and that’s only if the child remembers to tell someone that its there.  On the other hand, if a family on vacation is concerned that a child might wander off at the beach, a henna R-Too™ connected to the parents’ cell phone number would be useful.  Any person with a smart phone could scan the R-Too™ and reunite child and parent.

Many cultures have worn “scan-able” codes for centuries.  Consider the Tilaka of India. The Tilaka is a mark or marks worn on the forehead or other parts of the body, composed of different colors, providing information about a person’s religion, caste, marital status, etc.  Tilaka marks can be removed or changed, and they have this in common with the R-Too™.

What the Tilaka and other cultural body art cannot do is provide information beyond what an observer can see.  You cannot get someone’s email address, personal web page, or opinion about the state of the world from the equivalent of a Tilaka.  The R-Too™ provides a nearly infinite resource.

So let the R-Too™ frenzy begin.


(c) All Rights Reserved, 2011

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