Electronic tattoos

Engineers and scientists have discovered an “electronic tattoo” that bonds to human skin by tracking muscle activity, heart rate and other vital body signs which could transform health, technology and science to benefit society.

Tattoo artists and consumers should be aware that these super slim devices are light, without external wires yet require an insignificant amount of power for tattoos.

Photo by Niya Sinckler.

This could perhaps be a breakthroughs in patient monitoring and provide new opportunities for fitness and gaming industries. This device is linked to progress technology and biology. The electronic patches are placed on skin like temporary tattoos with circuits that bend, wrinkle and stretch without breaking for 24 hours.

The material science and engineering at the University of Illinois, John Rogers said, “Our goal was to develop an electronic technology that could integrate with the skin in a way that is invisible to the user. It’s a technology that blurs the distinction between electronics and biology. An electronic skin will help solve these problems and allow monitoring to be simpler, more reliable and uninterrupted,” from the BBC.

 Sensor in a tattoo
Photo from the BBC.

Researchers believe that the devices measure electrical activity produced by leg muscles and the heart. Also it is evident that the results were consistent and similar to the usual tattoo methods. This technology is new and to be used for clinical uses but eventually could replace conventional hospital monitoring ways making patients’ doctors redundant.

The product Mc10 was established by Ben Schlatka, vice-president of business development at the Cambridge based company to enhance studies regarding heart rate, hydration and respiration. The health devices are merging their way into the fitness industry as they will work with Reebok according to the NY Post.

An engineering professor Todd Coleman, who helped to lead the project team said that it doesn’t require conductive gel, tape, skin penetrating pins or bulky wires, which can be uncomfortable for the user and limit coupling efficiency. Mr Coleman said, “This could be an important conceptual advance in wearable electronics, to achieve something that is almost unnoticeable to the wearer. The technology can connect you to the physical world and the cyberworld in a very natural way that feels very comfortable,” from New Electronics.

However there are others who disagree. Diane Cunningham, 22, London sales advisor said, “I got my first tattoo at 18. I had someone personally do a tattoo that I had customized myself. It makes it more personal as it’s an art form that tattoo artists are very good at. I think advancing technology would undermine that talent in some way. It’s almost like getting an art piece as a poster instead of wanting the original painting.  There are probably perks to electronic tattoos but it’s not something that I would be interested in since with electronic gadgets, there are always limitations and glitches. Something could always go wrong so I think it’s a bit more risky.”

From experiments, researchers found that when placed on the throat, the devices detected distinct muscle movement for simple words including “up,” “down,” “left” and right” which were related to control of a simple computer game with a high accuracy rating.

One thought on “Electronic tattoos

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s