April 6, 2014 AT 1:00 am

E-Tattoos Can Now Store Data and Administer Medication

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E-tattoos, ultra thin, stretchable electronics worn on the surface of the skin, are now capable of more than just basic biometric readings like heart rate monitoring. Now, researchers have made developments that allow them to store data and even automatically administer medicine. From Motherboard:

The problem with e-tattoos so far has been powering them and allowing them to do long-term data storage. The advancement of nanotechnology, however, has allowed researchers to create e-tattoos that use less power and are finally able to store data.

Powering the thing is still a problem—Son’s e-tattoos are connected to an external power source worn on the body (say, a battery placed in your pocket), but the data storage problem has been solved by using what’s known as resistive random access memory (RRAM), created using exceedingly small nanomembranes. For the first time, e-tattoos can actually store and use information.

That’s a big deal, because it opens up new possibilities for the usefulness of e-tattoos, especially in diagnostics and drug delivery. Instead of sticking one on so that you can use Bluetooth to connect the vibrations of your throat with your phone for better voice-command clarity, we can imagine a scenario where e-tattoos are used to trigger the release of drugs into the bloodstream or something like that.

Similar to the nanovolcano concept shown a few months ago, such devices could be useful for people with chronic conditions. In fact, Son even designed a wearable skin patch that could automatically deliver drugs when necessary and tested it on pigs.

Read more.


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