Electronic skin tattoo has medical, gaming, spy uses
This device contains a RFID chip and will be able to transfer
information wirelessly to various networks. To get people interested and
excited by the electronic skin tattoo, news articles describe its
usefulness in health monitoring and…um…video games. What is however not
advertised is how easily this device could be used to track, spy and
A hair-thin electronic patch that adheres to the skin like a
temporary tattoo could transform medical sensing, computer gaming and
even spy operations, according to a US study published Thursday.
micro-electronics technology, called an epidermal electronic system
(EES), was developed by an international team of researchers from the
United States, China and Singapore, and is described in the journal
"It's a technology that blurs the distinction between
electronics and biology," said co-author John Rogers, a professor in
materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois at
"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."
patch could be used instead of bulky electrodes to monitor brain, heart
and muscle tissue activity and when placed on the throat it allowed
users to operate a voice-activated video game with better than 90
"This type of device might provide utility for
those who suffer from certain diseases of the larynx," said Rogers. "It
could also form the basis of a sub-vocal communication capability,
suitable for covert or other uses."
The wireless device is nearly
weightless and requires so little power it can fuel itself with
miniature solar collectors or by picking up stray or transmitted
electromagnetic radiation, the study said.
Less than 50-microns
thick -- slightly thinner than a human hair -- the devices are able to
adhere to the skin without glue or sticky material.
called van der Waals interactions dominate the adhesion at the molecular
level, so the electronic tattoos adhere to the skin without any glues
and stay in place for hours," said the study.
Northwestern University engineer Yonggang Huang said the patch was "as soft as the human skin."