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Graphene Temporary Tattoo Tracks Vital Signs


A graphene health sensor, which goes on the skin like a temporary tattoo.

University of Texas at Austin researchers are developing graphene-based health sensors that stick to a person's skin like a temporary tattoo and take measurements with the same precision as conventional medical equipment.

Credit: The University of Texas at Austin

University of Texas at Austin researchers are developing graphene-based health sensors that stick to a person's skin like a temporary tattoo and take measurements with the same precision as conventional medical equipment.

The graphene tattoos are 0.3 nanometers thick, making them the thinnest epidermal electronics ever created, and they can measure electrical signals from the heart, lungs, and brain, as well as determining skin temperature and hydration levels.

The researchers want to develop a system that can take measurements of the same or better quality compared with electrocardiogram monitoring technology, but that is unobtrusive.

They initially grew single-layer graphene on a sheet of copper; the two-dimensional carbon sheet was then coated with a stretchy support polymer, and the copper was etched off. The polymer-graphene sheet was then placed on temporary tattoo paper and the graphene was carved to make electrodes with stretchy spiral-shaped connections between them.

In a proof-of-concept experiment, the researchers used the graphene tattoos to take five kinds of measurements, and compared the data with results from conventional sensors.

From IEEE Spectrum
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