The new break through medical tracker: Graphene Tattoo

Wednesday 25th October 2017

Two researchers at University of Texas Deji Akinwande and Nanshu Lu have published a report which will save hospitals colossal amounts of money. The new ‘Graphene Tattoo’ is almost 300 times thinner than Gold -which is used on traditional sensory monitoring systems. This makes it the thinnest, softest electronic tattoo that has ever made in history.

The human body is constantly producing electrical systems such as voltages throughout the body enabling it to carry out simple tasks. The Graphene can record or monitor those voltages within the body. The kinds of monitoring it can carry out is heartbeat and the body’s response to an electric current known as bioimpedence. The tattoo is directly laminated to the skin with water such as a temporary tattoo and is nearly transparent. Since the researchers primarily showed that, hypothetically, a graphene tattoo must be less than 510 nm thick to fully conform to human skin and exhibit optimal performance, the tattoo they fabricated here is just 460 nm thick.

Currently, the lower performance of the inflexible electrode sensors mounted on bands and strapped to the wrist or chest. Due to the high-quality sensing, the researchers predict that the graphene tattoos may offer hopeful substitutes for existing medical sensors, which are usually taped to the skin and require gel or paste to permit the electrodes to function.

Tests showed that the graphene electronic tattoos can be successfully used to measure a range of electrophysiological signals, including skin temperature and skin hydration, and can function as an electrocardiogram (ECG), electromyogram (EMG), and electroencephalogram (EEG) for measuring the electrical activity of the heart, muscles, and brain, respectively. Additionally, it can also be used to control objects such as drones. In recent experiment, the tattoo was attached to the eyelids allowing research participant to move the drone in the direction of which his eyelids were moving.

It is estimated by 2022 the production of graphene will be much cheaper than gold. With this mass production projection of graphene will decrease in value – paving the way for the tattoo to become affordable and disposable. It is being developed currently with modifications with biometric uses – such as electrical activity in the heart, brain and muscles.

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