The history of early mankind shows various traces of artistic items including Tattoo Making. Since then the humans always had some soft-corner for the same that finally resulted in something discussed below i.e. fully functioning electronic tattoo which is its core ideas and experiments conducted to date.
There is contradictory belief across the world about the aspects of making tattoos, though somewhere it is considered taboo in society and somewhere it is included as ritual and custom. Now tattoos are a sign of being a cool, stylish, and fashionable person in modern society. The old-fashioned tattoo-making technology has now completely vanished from the modern world. There was a time when the whole tattoo was made with a single pin like a tattoo maker which was so painful, but that’s so far replaced by a tattoo-making machine.
The latest tattoo-making technology is an electronic tattoo which is one of the most common trends in social media. Electronic tattoo is not a tattoo but more health monitoring devices that are programmed at an intensive low scale. Even though it is called a tattoo the device has nothing to do with skin, it’s just stuck on skin of thick, laminated, and transparent silicon sheet. Once it is attached to the body parts it can give wireless signals of the different organs of the body such as the heart. It can work as even ECG devices and help in body checkout with ease.
Researches and Development
Early this decade, the concept of Electronic Tattoo has introduced to the whole world for the first time ever with fascinating applications all around from medical to the artistic, etc. Since then the research and development of the same is on fire, either in European Nations, the American States or Asian Group of Countries, etc. However, some of them are in the beginning stages but some of them are really close to mass-scale implementation with a nod from the concerned authorities.
Layer Upon Skin
The first attempt towards the technology was implemented at The Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in collaboration with UCL that aimed to design a device that would stick to the upper surface of the skin or would be embedded upon the skin that’s easily peelable or rubbed with an application of fluid i.e. water (was used for demonstration purpose), just like other regularly used detachable tech gadgets.
The device was developed in various layers (i.e. possible scenario might through 3D Printing) that majorly consists of a pair of flexible electrodes (i.e. anodes and cathode for close-looped circuit), OLED display for illumination, and some Nanowires.
In the year 2019, the previous model demonstrated at IIT was reconstructed at Duke University. But this time, the makers aimed to implement beneath the skin built with different materials. The concerned theory was implemented using a specialized ink of silver Nanowires that can be printed flexibly and can easily complete the circuit with the illuminations held above the skin.
Since the technology worked below the skin, this can provide a better assessment as per medical point of view i.e. blood-flow rate, or heart rate monitoring, etc. Nanowires are the newest trend for the implementation of nanoparticles that are regarded as the futuristic technology shaping tomorrow. However, the illuminations are nothing but a regularly printed tattoo (of somewhat gold or orange colored from wires’) aiming to build a better invisible electronic tattoo technology.
Measuring Blood Pressure using Lights
Another research work at the University of Texas fueled by Professor Nanshu Lu believes the same technology could be easily by something quoted as ‘light-emitting tattoo or LET’ that is planned and proposed design based on it. Our team tried to quote the design (as seen in one of the BBC articles on a similar topic). It was initially planned that light that has a definite speed and penetration effect in the skin. The same was to be utilized to measure blood pressure, SpO2 levels, or amount of oxygen per given amount of blood (in gm), given volume of hemoglobin, etc.
If the same succeeds, the same can play the role of BP measuring devices, oximeters, or other tests at the Laboratory itself. Apart from the ones’ given, there might be various uncountable benefits of Electronic Tattoo technology. This might include one of the biggest biomedical inventions helping humans to sustain their existence apart from many futuristic technologies or inventions.
Apart from the above benefits, it is expected to be used in different dermatological areas for various purposes across the body. The same is planned to monitor different internal bodily activities and store them to share the data with known servers via the internet or Bluetooth that can easily be accessible to users for further analysis.
How does Electronic Tattoo?
Electronic tattoos are non-permanent electrical devices. They are ultra-thin and reachable that cling to skin like a temporary tattoo and are able to measure electrical activities of the body. There is a transparent patch of rubber more like a rubber sticker (you know, kind of those lick and peel numbers you used to find in bubble gum wrapper as a kid) that contain equally flexible electrical components. All these sorts of nano-scale electrical components fit in elastic silicon wired kits.
Epidermal electronics systems on the other hand stick to the skin in a different way. They adhere to skin like a temporary tattoo. Then they are connected to computers which receive and respond to electrical signals by the means of a stuck patch called “electrical tattoo”. There isn’t any rocket science theory it’s a working mechanism rather it is very simple. The computer gives instructions to the electrical patches and the patches understand and react to their signal by providing the need of the information. The continuous monitoring of relevant and precise dosing of medication would have profound implications on treatment and health
As a newer technology, Electronic Tattoo has limited technology yet but is expected to expand as time goes on. Among which some of them are listed below:-
Medical is the native field of this research and is expected to gain the most of it. Benefits like blood pressure monitoring, hemoglobin checks, etc are among the initial features to be developed but apart from them even much more is yet to be discovered. Among some of the best features yet known and estimated some are listed below.
Heart Rate Monitoring
As discussed earlier in the post, one of the key reasons for electronic tattoos to become an existence is heart rate monitoring and blood pressure level checking without much hassle within some clicks away.
With the same tech, Scientists are aiming to plant the tattoos near the heart or somewhere around pumping grounds or areas with pulses for better and clear detection of the heart-pumping rate of blood in real-time.
Blood Pressure Measure
This category belongs to one of the most required and early predictions of the invention i.e. Electronic Tattoos. However, this is yet to be achieved at mass-scale testing due to some internal technology flaws or faults but scientists believe to have the bugs fixed until upcoming years.
Blood Glucose Levels
In comparison to other promised features of ‘electronic tattoos’, this is so far believed to be absurd but yet achievable, as per the engaged researchers in the project. The initial plan is to detect the same using a fine light source into the blood that is believed to deliver the results. The produced results can then be stored in the cloud storage or locally for further assessments.
With the concerned name or term, one may associate something being operated at a very nanoscale using its built-in machine learning patterns and artificially intelligence to read and perform some tasks. However the same here is associated with one of the applications of well-known, hyped, and buzzed nanotechnology that will be used to transfer drugs into the internal body via skin using small bots called nanobots.
In general, these types of Electronically operated tattoos will be equipped with nanotechnology that has the ability to remaster itself according to requisite needs at various intervals. But the application of transdermal patches will be the ultimate fate of this technology and needs much time to develop itself.
This is one of the most common use scenarios for tattoos and being the same or untouched for server-connected or Internet-connected device tattoos. With the same, the artistic values might peak with the freedoms of changing the faces or designs of the tattoos according to one’s will anytime just being connected to the internet. In addition, as per the study, the tattoos are to be developed or working closely with different lights adding sweet flavor to the device.
Future of the Technology