US scientists develop ‘electronic tattoo’
Device can be used to measure patients vital signs, may herald in new era of gaming
US scientists have developed an ‘electronic tattoo' that could revolutionise the way patients are monitored and herald a new era of gaming, according to the BBC.
The ‘electronic tattoo' device, which attaches to human skin like a temporary tattoo, is thinner than a human hair and was used in trials to monitor the heart and brain, according to a study in the journal Science.
The sensor can move, wrinkle and stretch without breaking and scientists hope it could replace the mass of cables, wires, gel-coated sticky pads and monitors that are currently needed to keep track of a patient's vital signs.
The electronic tattoo device is less that 50 micrometres thick, has tiny solar cells which can generate electricity or get energy from electromagnetic radiation and all its electronic parts are built out of wavy, snake-like components, which mean they can cope with being stretched and squeezed.
The sensor it attached to the skin via a water-soluble sheet of plastic, attached to the body by brushing with water and sticks on due to weak forces of attraction between the skin and a polyester layer at the base of the sensor.
In studies the device was successfully used to monitor electrical activity in the leg, heart and brain and the results tallied with those taken by traditional medical monitoring devices.
In testing, the device was worn for up to 24 hours without loss of function or skin irritation, however, due to skin regeneration, a new device would need to be fitted every two-weeks.
The device was also able to detect differences in words such as up, down, left, right, go and stop, when attached to the throat and researchers used this to control a simple computer game.