Electronic tattoo – sounds quite a sci-fi term for us all. But, yes it does exists which is either decorated with flashing lights as well as complicated circuits that has some specific task embedded within it. These new ways of technological advancements can upgrade how we think of wearables and can redefine wearables. They can turn your skin into a screen or touch screen. Like health related apps installed in wearables, these electronic tattoos can also monitor our vitals, provide real time health advice with personalized feeds. This is like wearing biology and connecting to technology and ultimately the web. Let us dig deep into what is there in these tattoos and how they work and what features and functionality they will provide.
This technological advancement will bring augmentation to our five senses & conceivably even provide us with a new one. Such kind of human amplification is represented through circuits. This is all because of the recent developments in the field of advanced materials & biomedical engineering, bio-mechanics as well as wearable electronics to make our imagination into real-time practical implementation.
Today there exist different kinds of bio-compatible equipment which allows electronics and data to effortlessly fuse with human body – electronics that can read our brain impulse and convert our tissue sense to electronic signals. This is a separate article where you will get to know about Cyborgs – where Humans can be further augmented with robotic mechanism.
E-Tattoos are already in market which has the capability to control smartphones and other smart-home gadgets. In other words, scientists claim that these “smart skins” or “e-skins” have the ability to connect and deal with everything right from monitoring vital nutrients and lack of minerals in body to making wearable electronics which can control things like IoT (https://www.bytehash.com/single-post/2018/09/08/IoT-Basics) does.
There are prominent researchers from all over the globe who are working on these smart skins to make them better. The initiative is to pack these electronic sensors in a fine, super-thin and super-flexible material — so emaciated and lithe that its user can wear it like a temporary tattoo, hence the name e-tattoo. Lately, one research group developed a set of functional smart skin for their office purpose, which also shows that these electronically fine tuned thin sensors do not need expensive materials for designing. Now, the next ultimate goal of scientists and researchers is to make a synthetic display that will be attached to such tattoos or smart skins. This revolutionary update in such advanced components not only bring ease to doctors and patients in examining defects and problems in human body but also graphically visualize and fix them at run-time. Compiling such visual data will be the next target of these smart tattoos and operations and lives in 2030 – 2050 will not be a sci-fi movie but a vivid reality.
Inside these e-tattoos, particles has thin layer of gallium indium alloy which amplifies the electrical conductivity & permits the printed circuit to be more robust mechanically. Some significance of these e-tattoos is that they are ultrathin, inexpensive to product, very stretchable, not at all uncomfortable to wear as said by Dr. Carmel Majidi who is an associate professor of these smart wearables and smart gadgets at Carnegie Mellon University of US.
Other than cheap processing power and comfort, these tattoos also offer various advantages. It is designed with more mechanical properties parallel to lightweight fabrics which remain functional in bending, folding, stretching, twisting. Its stretchability is like that of human skin and the potential to bend them is more accustomed as that of human muscles and tissues. Some future applications of this technology will be in epidermal bio-monitoring, flexible displays, soft robotics, bio-mechanical weapons and gadgets, 3D convertible printed electronics and office and corporate employee management as well.
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