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'Electronic Skin' Grafts Gadgets To Body

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the mail-us-a-sase-to-receive-your-free-slashtoo dept.

Science 31

sciencehabit writes "Researchers have developed ultrathin electronics that can be placed on the skin as easily as a temporary tattoo (abstract). The scientists hope the new devices will pave the way for sensors that monitor heart and brain activity without bulky equipment, or perhaps computers that operate via the subtlest voice commands or body movement. The devices can even be hidden under actual temporary tattoos to keep the electronics concealed, giving them potential applications for espionage."

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Question (1)

Medevilae (1456015) | more than 3 years ago | (#37070446)

Could this do rudimentary computer-brain interfaces without implants?

Re:Question (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37070612)

It might be an improvement over the present in terms of the skin-contact portion of the apparatus; but doing a computer-brain interface without drilling holes in the skull and getting direct contact imposes some fairly annoying constraints:

The electrical activity of the brain is certainly externally detectable; but it isn't terribly strong, and you have to deal with EMI and scalp muscle activity and such. Only gives you a comparatively rough, aggregate sense of what the brain is up to, and the further from the brain surface you go, the harder it becomes.

If you don't want to stick to 'read-only', things get harder. The brain is somewhat conductive, so a sufficiently powerful transcranial magnetic field will indeed affect it; but "sufficiently powerful" means "probably doesn't run on batteries". Also, you still suffer from comparatively coarse resolution.

Re:Question (1)

capo_dei_capi (1794030) | more than 3 years ago | (#37070674)

Yeah, one of the example applications that was mentioned is EEG, which means it could be used for some really crude BCI (think emotiv epoq).

Welcome to the future. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37070466)

Peter F. Hamilton, anyone? Electronics as tattoos was one of the cool little details that intrigued me in Pandora's Star (and Judas Unchained).

Re:Welcome to the future. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37071016)

OC Tattoos was't it?

Re:Welcome to the future. (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#37073428)

I think they were doing that back with the Cyberpunk 2020 roleplaying game.

This could kill tattoos popularity altogether... (0)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 3 years ago | (#37070580)

Police: Look! he has a tattoo. It could be camera. Get him!

-----

Drug lords: Yeah, I got soma that. Shit you got one of those bug-tattoos. Kill the motha!

Yeah, the cops are gonna *love* this one... (1, Funny)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 3 years ago | (#37070650)

Can see the headline now: Police amputate protester, lays charges of carrying concealed recording device.

Hot Nano Probe Action? (1)

Starfleet Command (936772) | more than 3 years ago | (#37071088)

inb4 Borg/ you will be assimilated jokes. Seriously, will this allow me to back up my brain and use Google desktop search for all the nude girl pictures I have stored therein? Or better yet, retrieve all those fun childhood memories that my age addled brain has stored away....somewhere.

But implants would be more practical, no? (1)

cm017510 (2400266) | more than 3 years ago | (#37071318)

But implants would be more practical, no?

Rephrased Quote (1)

asm2750 (1124425) | more than 3 years ago | (#37071562)

"It would appear you are attempting to graft electronic skin onto my endoskeletal structure."

Great Idea for Infants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37072000)

One great application that I can think of is for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). I'd much rather have a small devices like this instead of a system with wires that can get tangled. Been there done that........

Re:Great Idea for Infants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37073068)

Yeah a small electronic device grafted directly onto the skin that could silently kill a baby would be way better than noisome cords!

Power Source? (1)

jonahbron (2278074) | more than 3 years ago | (#37072422)

From the abstract:

Solar cells and wireless coils provide options for power supply.

If you have to have a bulky power source, it's hardly very practical. Don't misunderstand though, I think it's pretty cool. Are the solar cells actually the circuit? Would it be possible to get enough voltage from the skin?

I wonder what kind of microphone they used and how they attached it to the circuit. And how did they monitor heart-rate?

Re:Power Source? (1)

Yamioni (2424602) | more than 3 years ago | (#37110662)

And how did they monitor heart-rate?

Probably the same way they do it with pacemakers. See, they use a shrink ray on a police officer and inject him into your heart. Then he sits there with his radar gun and clocks the speed of the blood cells racing by. If they start going too fast or too slow, he takes out his taser and shocks your heart a little to get it back into a normal rythm.

Seriously, I thought this was common knowledge by now.

ooo! (1)

Demonix (140379) | more than 3 years ago | (#37072720)

If they could make a timepiece, i'd wear one. who needs straps!

Re:ooo! (1)

Briareos (21163) | more than 3 years ago | (#37078300)

I'd already be happy if they could just make a digital watch that isn't at least a centimeter in height because of battery + display + assorted other crap... :(

For those with need to be monitored constantly (1)

BigFire (13822) | more than 3 years ago | (#37072778)

This is a godsend for those people with chronic condition that requires constant and somewhat intrusive monitoring, such as users of insulin pump that needs to know what their glucose reading pretty much as often as possible. That's one of the possible use for this technology.

Finally! (1)

zig43 (1422373) | more than 3 years ago | (#37072816)

We can now graft lasers onto shark's heads!

Re:Finally! (1)

deadcrow (946749) | more than 3 years ago | (#37075162)

+1

who will be the first (1)

CSMoran (1577071) | more than 3 years ago | (#37072842)

to call it the mark of the beast?

Re:who will be the first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37072890)

you?

Re:who will be the first (1)

CSMoran (1577071) | more than 3 years ago | (#37073116)

Thank you, Captain Obvious.

Re:who will be the first (1)

Killall -9 Bash (622952) | more than 3 years ago | (#37080114)

The book of revelations already happened. It was written cryptically to keep the Romans from figuring out that "Babylon" was Rome, and was written during a time when Christianity was considered a weird, dangerous cut.

The mark of the beast was Caesar's head on coins, which you needed to buy or sell things.

Another sci-fi concept getting real (1)

sebaluks (849301) | more than 3 years ago | (#37073090)

It looks pretty similar to what was depicted in Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commonwealth_Saga#Man-machine_symbiosis). Namely - OCTattoos. The difference is that in the book they were worn not only for practical reasons but also as an adjournment. Still waiting for wormholes though...

Babylon 5 Re:Another sci-fi concept getting real (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37076692)

It looks pretty similar to what was depicted in Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commonwealth_Saga#Man-machine_symbiosis). Namely - OCTattoos. The difference is that in the book they were worn not only for practical reasons but also as an adjournment.
Still waiting for wormholes though...

B5 did it before Hamilton by like 10 years

Re:Babylon 5 Re:Another sci-fi concept getting rea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37078864)

B5 did it before Hamilton by like 10 years

If you're referring to the link, then no, it's not the same as OC Tattoo. Link is just cellphone glued to your hand, while OC Tattoo is like printing circuits on your skin.

Great news... (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 3 years ago | (#37073454)

... for the Arduino crowd. Now your Lilypad [arduino.cc] will be able to tell you whether you're pregnant or not.

reminds me of (1)

Reed Solomon (897367) | more than 3 years ago | (#37076228)

the old green lantern villain the tattooed man.

Huge number of potential exciting applications (1)

cyberfringe (641163) | more than 3 years ago | (#37079068)

This is guaranteed to have many applications from the useful to the beautiful to the absurd. Combine this with recent research on direct neuro-electronic interfaces (see for example multiple papers at link below) and you now have interesting possibilities for sending and receiving signals to/from devices on the skin -- or across the room. Directly stimulating cells in the skin responsible for detecting pressure, heat and so forth might enable more compelling virtual or augmented realities. Combine with LED technology and you could have moving full-color tattoos. Amazing and exciting!

Neural Engineering (NER), 2011 5th International IEEE/EMBS Conference on [ieee.org]
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