Electronic Tattoos have the potential to read minds and transmit data
Do electronic Tattoos have the potential to read minds and transmit data? Electronic Tattoos have the potential to read minds, monitor brain activity and transmit data, Now images having the ability to read brainwaves with something as simple as an electronic tattoo. Similar to biosensor tattoos used to monitor sweat levels, the E-Tattoo is here to make an even bigger leap in the realm of brainwave monitoring. Electronic Tattoos are used for monitoring vital signs to making wearable electronics a whole lot more wearable. Lots of researchers are working on “Smart Skins.” The idea is to package electronic sensors into a super-thin, super-flexible material, so thin and flexible that the user could wear it like a temporary tattoo. Recently, one research group even made a functional smart skin out of office supplies, such as Post-it notes and foil, showing that the whisper-thin electronic sensors need not be made from expensive materials.
An “Electronic Tattoo” which is more of a sticker than a tattoo, utilizes flexible electronic circuits to help record complex neural activity, and the results are as accurate as an Electroencephalography (EEG), which is the recording to electrical activity along the scalp. The same technology has been tested to monitor fetuses during pregnancy.
Todd Coleman and his colleagues first developed the E-tattoo in 2011 at the University of California, San Diego, when they were designing strands. When applied to a person’s skin, the patch acts as a temporary tattoo. These patches are capable of monitoring electrophysiological signals specific to the heart and muscles, as well as rudimentary brain activity.
Since then, Coleman’s group has improved the technology by optimizing the utility of the electrodes to process complex brainwaves. This capability was demonstrated by monitoring the P300 signals, which are delivered by the brain when it is attentive towards something of interest. We know this because of an experiment in which volunteers were asked to keep track of the number of times a certain object appeared in a series of images flashed before them. Every time the object showed up, the tattoo registered a blip in the P300 signal.
Currently, development is focused on optimizing the technology to treat depression and Alzheimer’s disease, which have characteristic patterns of neural activity. Current usage is primarily for monitoring purposes to see if the medication is effective or not. Another application would be to monitor real time fetal activity in expecting mothers by using smartphones. We already have robotic exoskeletons that perceive neural signals and move muscles for the user. Combined with this technology, the exoskeletons may get lighter and cheaper, as the cost for manufacturing electronic tattoos is low.
How Electronic Tattoos Work
An electronic tattoo looks less like a fire-breathing dragon and more like a thin circuitry-filled sticker. Also, it doesn’t help convince your classmates that you joined a Chinese street gang over the summer. No, instead it reads your vital signs eavesdrops on the language of your internal systems and whispers that data to the physicians who prolong your life.
Future of Electronic Tattoos
In the distant future, we may very well be looking at a scenario where all brain signals can be mapped and observed, offering possibilities literally as endless as our very imagination. Surely, humanity’s future is bright with tattoos and neon back crucifixes.
Electronic tattoos may not be available yet at a local hospital, but Dr. John A. Rogers and his cohorts at MC10 envision a future defined by epidermal electronics.