Calendar laser-etched into thumbnails

Back in 2007, Bre Pettis etched a calendar into his thumbnails with a laser cutter. I'd love to gussy up my digits before a night out on the town with some etched bitmaps. Sure would be smarter than a boring old man-manicure (and it'd be great for cheating on exams). Why is this technology not ubiquitous?

A Calendar Laser Etched Into Fingernails (via Sciencepunk)


  1. Probably because it’s dangerous. Look up the video on what the hulk laser can burn though.

  2. As a curious (in both senses of the word) kid I turned a magnifying glass on my big toenail.
    It was several seconds after the melting started and the smoke started to rise that the pain hit.
    Laser etching seems less harrowing!

  3. Either this guy’s fingernails grow really slowly or this is an old photograph…

    If you could calibrate it properly, you could etch your nails with a calendar that grew out at the proper rate, so the current date was always right at your fingertips.

    Maybe you could use it as a reminder for something you might need to do some months down the line? You’d have to have some way of recalling just what it was that you had to do, as it would have disappeared off the end of your finger ;-)

  4. @#2 It’d be easier to print a reverse calendar on your long, untended fingernails and then trim them every month to keep it current. I believe this would be an excellent way to ensure that you could always tell what month it was by looking at your thumbs.

  5. Ok, why does he need to remind himself what months are in the year, and why just through June? Functional fail.

  6. How do you get the shark to do such minute work with its fricken laser is what I want to know.

  7. “Why is this technology not ubiquitous?”
    Cuz burning fingernails smell nasty?!

  8. #9, LOL

    I don’t see the need for a calendar on my fingernails but I would accept advertising for a fee.

  9. According to my father, an old country veterinarian, there is a old-time, practical application of this calendar system.

    The time it takes to grow out a thumbnail is about the same as the gestation period for a sow. When the sow was bred, the farmer would file a grove at the base of his thumbnail. When the groove grew out the the end of the nail, the farmer knew it was time to be expecting piglets.

  10. I was timestamped by a laser marker on my thumbnail while working for a manufacturing automation company. Luckily it was at low power and I ended up with a mark similar to this. I wanted to try the bitmap marking to do my other nails, but had no time. Fond Memories.

  11. Ouch! look how the right-hand 2008 burned the skin. That is going to be painful as it develops into a burned hangnail.

  12. Font is too big. And ugly. What would be nice would be a hi-res colour printing. Scenery, photos, whatever.

    It’s a small device, the size of a can of peas. Insert MMC card, select photo, insert finger, and 10 seconds letter, it’s finished. Insert finger into the second slot for a protective clear coat. Painting your fingernails all one colour is so outdated.

    Or it could be a vending machine. I’m going to be so rich … :-)

  13. The smell and ouchie effects would depend on what type of laser you used. Shorter wavelengths and pulse widths make for “cooler” processes.

    That being said, I watched a PRK procedure once (ultraviolet ablation of the cornea of the eye). Smells like bacon.

  14. Okay now, hold steady…. steeeeeaaaaadyyy … okaaaayyy…steaaaaaaadyy…ste- OGOD!!! OH MY GODDD!!!!! HOLY JEEZUS – Wow right through the bone an’ everything!! I said STEADY!!!! Oh man – oh the humanity- aww on the carpet, too , fer chrissak- WOAH, get the dog outta here !!

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