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Medicine Biotech Technology

How High-Tech Temporary Tattoos Will Hack Your Skin 57

Molly McHugh writes with this story about sensors that can be attached to temporary tattoos to monitor various medical information. "The Center for Wearable Sensors at the University of California San Diego has been experimenting with attaching sensors to temporary tattoos in order to extract data from the body. The tattoos are worn exactly as a regular temporary tattoo would be worn. The sensors simply sit atop the skin without penetrating it and interact with Bluetooth or other wireless devices with a signal in order to send the data....A biofuel battery applied as a temporary tattoo converts sweat into energy, and a startup within the center has developed a strip that extracts data from sweat to explain how your body is reacting to certain types of exercise. Amay Bandodkar, a fourth year PhD student at UCSD, explains that the sensors are programmed to react to the amount of lactate the body produces."
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How High-Tech Temporary Tattoos Will Hack Your Skin

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  • They tend to be pretty permanent without some expensive laser treatment. Something all the 20 somethings who think they're cool by covering themselves in naff sub 1970s prog rock album cover style "gothic" art will come to realise when they hit their 40s and realise what looks cool when your 25 just looks like they're having a sad mid life crisis episode when they're 40.

    • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

      Yeah ok , I just spotted the word "temporary" up there. I need stronger coffee in the morning.

    • Give it a few more years and you'll be able to get an eink sort of implant grid that will support pattern changing as the styles change. You'll have to go back to the tatoo parlor at first for the big machine, then a home unit will be developed and eventually the microcontrollers can be embedded with the pigment. The tatoo parlor device will only need one use to assign each injected pixel (pigel?) its coordinate. Long term tech support is the obvious problem.

      • by mlts ( 1038732 )

        I can see it now, tattoos that automatically update for the latest fashion trend with the wearer just visiting the tattoo artist just for a firmware download. This month, it might be tribal designs. Next month, pithy poetry written on the chest and arms. Skulls and spikes after that, then maybe a cyber theme when something Matrix themed comes out.

        I'm sure there would definitely be a market for this. Perhaps even have the tattoos disappear for the work day and reappear at 5:00, with the special designs f

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Thursday December 04, 2014 @06:44AM (#48521223)

    Electronics that are aheavsively attached to your body.
    Yes I know tattoos are popular now. But it isn't like a tattoo if you have electronics sticking out of your body.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I wouldn't consider getting a traditional tattoo, but some of the science fiction types have piqued my interest (in concept at least).

      For example, I wouldn't mind getting a forearm tattoo that showed instant readouts of various vital data, e.g. SpO2, heart rate, BP, serum glucose, electrolytes, lactate, bicarb, creatinine, etc. Given that this would have to be animated, I can imagine it having several modes including off (making it invisible), "dim flashlight" mode, rave mode, or whatever.

      Maybe this will be

      • The big issue I have with technology implants...
        Mores Law.
        You go threw an invasive method to get the technology installed, and after a couple years it is out of date.

        Getting the next version of the tattoo that included netflix with audio.

    • by asylumx ( 881307 )
      Yes, so really a sticker rather than a tattoo.
  • I've got an advanced device similar to this that can hack the environment, it's called a thermometer.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I've got an advanced device similar to this that can hack the environment, it's called a thermometer.

      Somebody hacked those ages ago to make a digital thermometer, it was very impressive at the time!

  • Oh, please tell me that the "biofuel battery applied as a temporary tattoo converts sweat into energy, and a startup within the center has developed a strip that extracts data from sweat" is really just an electrochemical battery (aka potato battery).

    • besides, sweat => exercise => piezoelectric stuff would probably work as well or better, without needing implants.

    • Oh, please tell me that the "biofuel battery applied as a temporary tattoo converts sweat into energy, and a startup within the center has developed a strip that extracts data from sweat" is really just an electrochemical battery (aka potato battery).

      Ah, ours has bluetooth.

      And that's Mister Potato Head to you, buddy.

    • by Richy_T ( 111409 )

      Converts sweat into energy? Great. Strap one under each of Al Gore's armpits and we can put this whole global warming thing behind us.

    • Ok, this is /. so of course you didn't read tfa, but it does say it works on lactate, or CH3CH(OH)COO, but it isn't explicit about what it does with it. Have fun with the list of patents: http://www.mc10inc.com/patents... [mc10inc.com]
  • ... what about a tatoo that attaches to your skin and is responsive to your environment? So picture a tatoo that:

    changes pattern/color in response to radiation or chemical agents in the air as an early warning;
    changes pattern/color in response to bluetooth signals so you could have an animated pattern transmitted from your phone or a person near you could transmit a pattern, like a virtual sig block.

    Not related to the article but tatoos could be way cooler ...

  • Surface Detail [wikipedia.org] anyone?
  • I don't ever want a damn tattoo. What next... should start smoking?!

  • The gadget doesn't look like it should be limited to passing as a tattoo. We should see this as an opportunity to accessorize! But the models in TFA aren't into it. Catwalks! Sell it, baby!
  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Thursday December 04, 2014 @09:05AM (#48521769) Journal

    So "hack" is now a synonym for the simple word "use" whenever it's cool?

    "I hacked the door to go outside."

    "I hacked the language so I could keep using the word 'hack' as much as possible."

  • I'm certain that the Cybermen are behind this.
  • With his hands in the pockets of his jacket, he stared through the glass at a flat lozenge of vatgrown flesh that lay on a carved pedestal of imitation jade. The color of its skin reminded him of Zone's whores; it was tattooed with a luminous digital display wired to a subcutaneous chip. Why bother with the surgery, he found himself thinking, while sweat coursed down his ribs, when you could just carry the thing around in your pocket?
  • I'm holding out for some GM firefly butts to be inserted into my arm and hooked into my nervous system. When I flex or get threatened it'll light up! Maybe electric eel glands in my hands too for some extra oomph?

    I look forward to our genetic engineering future.

  • Amay Bandodkar, a fourth year PhD student at UCSD, explains that the sensors are programmed to react to the amount of lactate the body produces.

    This is an interesting idea. In endurance sports like running, cycling, cross country skiing, etc. there is a parameter that athletes tend to base their training around called "lactate threshold". It's basically the point at which your muscles being producing lactate faster than it can be "buffered" and it is believed this is what causes fatigue and "the burn" you get when you run too fast. You'll notice that if you run or cycle at an endurance pace (below your lactate threshold) you could continue that sam

  • Had cell phone spray ons.

Neutrinos have bad breadth.

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