Electronic tattoos: The future of health monitoring

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

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Electronic tattoos can provide life-saving information on the body’s health.

Usually, it takes a visit to the doctor’s office to know what’s going on inside your body, and even then they often need to run tests and wait for the results to have real answers. In the future, however, you can slap on a computer circuit on your skin like a sticker, and it will read your body like an open book. In fact, researchers predict a baby born 5-10 years from now will get one of these electronic “tattoos” placed on them, and there’ll be more data stored on the device by the time they’re 2 years old than anyone currently alive.

This remarkable technology, which is thin, flexible, and tough enough to last through all kinds of daily activities, will be used not just for athletes and soldiers, but also for ordinary folks. Using something called an electrocardiogram (EKG), the tattoos can monitor breathing rate, body temperature, sleep length, nutritional levels, and even how hydrated you are. Then, all that data can be sent to apps on your tablets or smartphones.

Medical experts believe that patients will be able to easily understand their own data with software, making it less necessary to rely on expensive doctors visits. They can then use the information to manage medication levels and keep an eye on their health conditions. Also, medical companies and professionals will have access to unbelievable quantities of data on the human body, allowing them to more rapidly develop new treatments, medicines, and techniques.

Images courtesy of John Rogers and University of Illinois.