January 24, 2013
It sounds like something out of George Orwell’s book 1984, yet scientists have touted it as a major advancement in the field of medicine. Have you heard of the ‘electronic tattoo’ fully equipped with the ability to track patients’ vital signs and report the findings to researchers? The technology is known as an epidermal electronic system (EES), and was developed by an international team of researchers from the United States, China and Singapore.
When it comes to microchips, implants, or electronic tattoos—it all sounds a little too futuristic, like these “advances” may be paving the way for government tracking of citizens, or worse. But some industries are promoting these high-tech ideas as major advancements in their field. The medical field is just one place these ideas are gaining a foothold.
According to the International Business Times, hospitals and doctors’ offices may one day soon outfit their patients with temporary electronic tattoos. These little skin-patches are said to carry a wealth of information in a tiny space and can reportedly help reduce medical errors while improving care.
“Our goal was to develop an electronic technology that could integrate with the skin in a way that is mechanically and physiologically invisible to the user,” says John Rogers with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. So, invisibleelectronic tattoos are good?
“It’s a technology that blurs the distinction between electronics and biology,” says Rogers in characterizing the patches that allow researchers to track vital signs and more.
The devices are small and “nearly weightless”. They are thinner than a human hair and attach to the body using water rather than an adhesive. In that regard, they are very much like temporary tattoos. But unlike the bubblegum tattoos, these have electronic components.
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