Researchers Develop Health Monitoring E-Tattoo
Stories of people embedding digital devices into their bodies are becoming increasingly common; with these digital implants capable of everything from aiding mobility to paying for products, unlocking doors and storing data. A team of researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have taken a similar concept and applied it to the world of health monitoring – though their method is a little less invasive.
Using liquid metal and carbon nanotubes, the team created an electronic ink tattoo that does not require a needle to be applied.
The e-tattoo monitors physiological symptoms of the user, tracking vital signs such as blood sugar levels and heart rate and automatically alerting the wearer to any perceived anomalies. Data on a user’s vitals over time can also be connected to biosensors and used to track patterns or problems.
“In the future, what we hope to do is connect a wireless chip integrated with this ink, so that we can communicate, or send signals back and forth between our bodies to an external device,” said project leader Professor Steve Park.
The ink itself is made from particles based on the soft metal gallium (which is also used in thermometers and semiconductors), while the carbon nanotubes are coated in platinum to offer conductibility and durability.
The team’s research was published in the print version of the journal Advanced Materials in July. More research is expected to fine-tune the e-tattoo, as it currently can only offer readings if connected to an external biosensor.