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.

By Alex Hutchinson Reader’s Digest Canada, January 2012

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."


Find more about: medical | healthy living | health
No votes yet

Recent Features

  • 7 Secrets of Power Napping>>

    The myth that napping is wasted time is changing, thanks to well-documented studies showing that short snoozes can improve mood, performance, and health. Click through to your step-by-step guide to successful power napping.>>

  • Advances in Back Pain>>

    Do you suffer from chronic back pain? Relief may be around the bend  with the latest in research and development.>>

  • 6 Mistakes Your Doctor May Be Making>>

    Are your doctors basing your care on the strongest scientific research? We asked experts to point out some of the most worrisome ways doctors are falling short.>>

  • 4 Self-Defeating Habits to Avoid>>

    It’s something that many people tend to do—put themselves down without even knowing it. Read up on four common self-defeating behaviours that you may be unconsciously guilty of doing. And then find out what you can do about it.>>

  • How to Fight Energy Vampires>>

    We've all dealt with people who put a strain on us emotionally. Read on to find out how to handle these energy vampires when they come your way.>>

  • 4 Ways to Freshen Your Breath>>

    Forget fancy mouthwashes and mini-mints. Keep your mouth clean with a healthy diet that will reduce bacteria and plaque--the culrpits of bad breath.>>

  • 3 Things Moms-to-Be Should Avoid>>

    Pregnancy is an exciting time in a woman's life, but it's also a time to take extra-special care of yourself—for both your own benefit and that of your future child. Click through for 3 things that you should avoid if you're expecting.>>

  • 4 Ways to Relieve Dry Eyes>>

    Got red, stinging eyes? You may have dry eye. It’s caused by everything from contacts to rosacea, and can lead to impaired vision and eye infection, says Robert Latkany, MD, author of The Dry Eye Remedy. We've got four ways to ease the pain.>>

  • 5 Ways to Be Your Best>>

    Having the mindset of an athlete can help you achieve success in any area of your life. Performance expert Peter Jensen tells you how.>>

  • 5 Steps to Manage Your Temper>>

    Studies are showing that blowing your gasket is as unhealthy as suppressing rage. Both drive up your heart rate and blood pressure. Try these techniques to shift your anger from heart to head so you can you let off steam without scalding anyone in the process.>>

  • Free Dental Advice>>

    Sometimes we forget that dentists are also doctors and that we should be listening to their advice. Read on for some words of wisdom from dentists about common concerns around dental care.>>

  • 10 Ways to Breathe Easier>>

    If you want to be able to blow out all the candles on your cake when you're 75 (assuming your family dares to put on a candle for every year), not to mention climb three flights of stairs without needing oxygen, now is the time to take action.>>

  • The Truth About Driving and Cell Phones>>

    In the last decade, thousands of accidents have been caused by distracted drivers. Chances are you have used your cell phone for a call or to text while driving. Read on to find out exactly how much a cell phone can impair your reflexes while driving.>>

  • Map of Shame>>

    Do Canadians have access to world-class cancer treatments? Only if you live in the right province.>>

  • Natural Mood Boosters>>

    Find out which natural remedies you can turn to to strengthen your immune system and counter depression, anxiety and other mood-related disorders.>>

Your Comments