March 15, 2013 in Technology
First Electronic Tattoo Printed Directly Onto Skin
Ever found yourself wanting a barcode tattoo like Agent 47 from the movie Hitman?
the barcode that is tattooed on the back of his head is starkly prominent. The barcode lists his date of creation and identification number 640509-040147.
His barcode acts as a security key to access areas of the facility where he was created and trained. 47′s barcode is implied to be in Code 39; according to Dr. Ort-Meyer’s journal, the barcode was added to the tattoo in 1975, one year after the code was developed.
Consistently looking for new ways to store all your “medical” information directly (quite literally) on your person at all times?
First there were electronic stick-on tattoos with stretchable batteries – now the electronic sensors can be printed directly onto – and soon into – human skin.
Welcome to the world of “epidermal electronics” as introduced by John Rogers, a materials scientist at the University of Illinois (U-C).
Rogers Research GroupWe seek to understand and exploit interesting characteristics of ‘soft’ materials, such as polymers, liquid crystals, and biological tissues as well as hybrid combinations of them with unusual classes of micro/nanomaterials, in the form of ribbons, wires, membranes, tubes or related. Our aim is to control and induce novel electronic and photonic responses in these materials; we also develop new ‘soft lithographic’ and biomimetic approaches for patterning them and guiding their growth. This work combines fundamental studies with forward-looking engineering efforts in a way that promotes positive feedback between the two. Our current research focuses on soft materials for conformal electronics, nanophotonic structures, microfluidic devices, and microelectromechanical systems, all lately with an emphasis on bio-inspired and bio-integrated technologies. These efforts are highly multidisciplinary, and combine expertise from nearly every traditional field of technical study.
Rogers Group has introduced variations of flexible electronics before, with the group exploring various applications such as batteries, solar cells, and wireless equipment. But the newest innovation allows the ultrathin mesh electronics (essentially a computer) to be placed directly on the surface of the skin, eliminating the need for the elastomer backing previously used as an adhesive.
The concepts have been developed for over 14 years with an aim to have chargeable circuits, wireless reading and connection to phones, iPads and other reading devices. They don’t just detect body temp and skin moisture but even electronic signals from the heart and brain.
Closeup of battery/sensors on skin
The stick-on sensors were very temporary and couldn’t withstand much. The skin-printable sensors stay on with a spray-able bandage and can last for two weeks, but that’s why under-the-skin embedded sensors are on the way for more permanency.
With this accomplishment the group continues to move forward, further developing the flexibility and capability of the already astoundingly thin and intricate battery. The expressed goal is better, targeted healthcare sensory and data.
The work is funded by The Office of Naval Research, The Department of Energy, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The wearable patch of tiny circuits, sensors, and wireless transmitters sticks to the skin like a temporary tattoo, stretching and flexing with the skin while maintaining high performance. Photo Courtesy of Materials Science and Engineering Professor John A. Rogers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Stretchable lithium-ion battery with video
Article and images source: http://www.extremetech.com/computing/150405-researchers-print-flexible-electronic-tattoo-directly-onto-human-skin