Data Tattoo
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Data Tattoo

A team of scientists, led by University of
Illinois Professor John Rogers, has created a new, less intrusive way of gathering data
from the human body. Unlike conventional equipment that hard-wires patients to a stationary machine,
the “epidermal electronics,” as they’re called, attach to the skin the same way you
would attach a temporary tattoo.>>“If we use the epidermal electronic devices,
first of all, it is like human skin; very light, light-weight and easy to wear and it
doesn’t require huge instruments. Also, we basically removed that conductive gel so
if we can monitor the, uh, electrophysiological signal more than several days, more than a
week, several weeks. So we can just wear that EES device on my forehead or chest to monitor
brain activity and heart activity in the middle of the normal life, more than several weeks.
So that could be very beneficial for those patients. So, the purpose of this technology
is to develop skin-like, easy to use device for human health.” “Our thought was, if you could convert the
electronics from the rigid, boxy form that exists today into a format that looks like
the skin in terms of mechanical properties, shape, stretchablity, toughness, then you
could almost make like a second skin that would laminate on the surface of the biological
skin in a completely seamless, integrated fashion that would be essentially invisible
to the user but able to deliver all these new functionalities through the skin.” “So the trick is, how do you go from a rigid,
silicon wafer-based type of electronic which is the dominant form of electronics today,
into an electronics that offers those same kinds of performances or operating characteristics
but in the format of a tissue-like or skin-like form?”>>Researchers developed S-shaped circuits
that can move with the skin – expanding, contracting, and twisting – without affecting
performance. Through this technology, the team has been able to demonstrate a variety
of devices on the electronic platform, including EMG sensors, LEDs, and solar cells. Other
demonstrations have shown wearers controlling videogames.>>“The kind of functioning systems that
we demonstrated in this paper involve devices that can monitor brain functions – so they
laminate onto the forehead and they monitor brain waves and determine, you know, certain
aspects of brain activity.”>>“Since the characteristic of our device
is very similar with epidermis, if we cover it with conventional, temporary tattoo, first
of all, other people cannot see it. So, it is very easy to wear and since we are using
wireless system, the patient or people can move, and do normal life without any restriction.”>>“We can recover high quality signals in
this kind of skin-like epidermal system, that are comparable to state-of-the-art conventional
electrodes that involve bulky pads strapped to the skin. So the fidelity of the measurement
is, is equal to the best existing technology that’s out there today but in this really
unique, skin-like form.”

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