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

  • 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.>>

  • 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.>>

  • 5 Signs Canadians are Getting Fatter>>

    If there was any question that the average Canadian’s daily habits have had a negative effect on their overall health, the answer now seems to be all too clear. A landmark study released earlier this month by Statistics Canada reveals that Canadians of all ages are alarmingly heavier, wider and weaker than they were nearly three decades ago.>>

  • CPR Primer>>

    Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an important first-aid skill that can save the life of someone who's having a heart attack. The key is knowing how to perform it properly. This primer can help you learn the procedure.>>

  • 3 Foods to Help Control ADHD>>

    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most controversial health conditions of our day, one that's long on theories and unanswered questions and short on treatments. Given all the red flags with certain types of medication, tinkering with a child's diet may be the safer place to start.>>

  • 10 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.>>

Your Comments