Japan-based research team developed an on-skin stretchable electronic tattoo, which can measure vital body signs without causing skin inflammation.
Research team from Japan laminated electrical sensors and connecting wires directly onto the human skin. The technology was developed using an ink made from nano-scale gold rods, which were infused into a flexible water-soluble polymer. Conventional flexible on-skin electronic devices block the normal body functioning such as sweating, cooling, and other processes, as they are based on substrate surface to lay on top.
As a part of building up this electronic tattoo, nano materials are squeezed and pressed into the skin application of water over it. After certain period of time, the polymer washes away and the gold nanorods remain trapped by the tiny folds within the skin. Nanorods are expected to be safe for human body as Gold is known to be a safe wearable body metal. These tattoo-like electronic was examined by volunteers, who wore it up for a week. According to the volunteers, they did not even feel the presence of the electronic on their skin.
Nanorods creates a connected hay-like network, which stays intact even stressing the body. As a part of the study, the researchers bent and stretched their gold mesh-based wires over 10,000 times and they were observed to functioning throughout. Researchers also reported that they were able to detect skin temperature and if something sensitive is touching it.
This breakthrough technology can be efficiently used for long term monitoring of vital body parameters such as blood pressure and heart rate. However, things such as sweat and other biomarkers are expected to affect the electrical signal. The bending of the skin can probably be detected by changes in an electrical current passed through the ink.