Researchers have devised a way to print electronic sensors onto patient’s skin. The wearable sensors look like temporary tattoos and allow doctors to wirelessly monitor vitals by detecting variations in temperature, hydration and strain in the skin.
The new technology uses flexible electronics that includes “ultrathin electrodes, electronics, sensors, and wireless power and communication systems” bonded to a patient’s skin using spray-on bandages. The thin adhesive keeps the electronics attached to the patient whilst allowing for daily activity. The temporary adhesive can keep the electronic tattoo attached for up to two weeks before the skin’s moisture removes the stamp-on devices.
John Rogers of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign explains that the next goal for epidermal electronics is to improve their internal power system and wireless technology. Wearable electronics is already seeing commercial use by companies like MC10 whose products include Sports Impact Indicators, Remote Monitoring systems, and cosmetic stickers.