How a Tattoo Could Save Your Life

Once reserved for sailors and rock stars, tattoos have become so mainstream, you may soon be seeing them in hospitals.

How a Tattoo Could Save Your Life

Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created high-tech temporary tattoos that can measure heartbeats, brainwaves and muscle activity with the goal of transmitting the information wirelessly to health-care practitioners. The key breakthrough is the development of ultrathin flexible microchips that cling to the skin so naturally that they feel invisible, says lead researcher John Rogers. Premature babies will be among the first beneficiaries once the technology is approved, Rogers says, since they are often too small for the bulky electrodes and wires currently needed to monitor their vital signs. The tattoos will also allow for less intrusive monitoring of sleeping patients. The team is currently fine-tuning prototypes to enable fully wireless data transmission.

Though the project is exciting, the long-term goal is grander: “It’s really to blur the distinction between man-made electronics and the body,” Rogers says. “We think that’s the future.”

More From Reader’s Digest

  • Breast Cancer Screening GuidelinesBreast Cancer Screening Guidelines Since so many types of cancers are now curable when found at early stages, having regular physical exams and screening tests is critical. Here's what you need to know about breast cancer screening. Posted in Conditions
  • 10 Tips for a Happier Workplace10 Tips for a Happier Workplace You don't have to be friends with your coworkers, but you do need to be friendly. Read on for fresh ways to make work a kinder, gentler place. Posted in Healthy Living
  • Winter Safety: Truth and MythWinter Safety: Truth and Myth Winter offers plenty of opportunities for fun, but it can also be a dangerous time of year. You can reduce your winter risk by understanding some common myths—and the actual truth […] Posted in Healthy Living
  • 3 Ways to Ease Knee Pain with Food3 Ways to Ease Knee Pain with Food Millions of people have stiff, painful knees thanks to osteoarthritis. Remedies range from keeping active and dropping excess weight to steroid injections and even surgery. But research […] Posted in Healthy Living
  • 9 Treatments for Restless Legs Syndrome9 Treatments for Restless Legs Syndrome Is the sudden urge to move your legs at night affecting your sleep? If so, you might have a condition called restless legs syndrome. The good news is, there are plenty of treatments for […] Posted in Healthy Living
  • 10 Natural Concentration-Boosters10 Natural Concentration-Boosters In our modern, fast-paced world, multi-tasking is concentration’s biggest foe. Slow down and follow some of these strategies to bring your thoughts into clearer focus.  Posted in Healthy Living