Adding a new tattoo not only looks good (or makes a decision to regret after a few years), but it also saves lives. At the very least, it’s the idea behind a new electronic tattoo that can measure your blood pressure continuously and unobtrusively.
In a paper published in the journal on Monday Nature nanotechnology, A team from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas at Austin have developed a device that can be worn comfortably on the skin of the wrist for up to 24 hours. It can help continuously monitor blood pressure with incredible accuracy, diagnose problems that occur, and inform the treatment of patients with severe heart disease. Researchers hope to pave the way for blood pressure monitors that do not require cuff devices like traditional armbands.
“Blood pressure is an important indicator,” Roozbeh Jafari, a professor of biomedical engineering at Texas A & M and co-author of the study, told The Daily Beast. “It gives us a big picture of the entire cardiovascular system. But if you want to measure it, once or several times a day is not enough, and the cuff-based solution is inconvenient. It’s uncomfortable and impractical.
In fact, in the world of blood pressure monitoring, having a cuffless device is the “holy grail,” Jaffari said. This is because cuffed devices are often uncomfortable to wear, and cardiac monitoring products such as smartwatches tend to move too much around the wrist to provide accurate data.
That’s why the Texas team turned to graphene, a material similar to graphite pencils, to create tattoos that can be applied directly to the wrist arteries. Not only is it extremely durable, it is also the thinnest material in the world. This makes it ideal for use in e-tattoos, as the wearer cannot even feel it on the skin.
It also applies exactly like a temporary tattoo. Place a piece of paper on your wrist and tap it with a small amount of water. After a few seconds, the paper will slip off and you’re done. You now have a smooth new cyberpunk tattoo. Unfortunately, it’s still not enough to measure your heart rate.
“There are these circuits that need to be connected to the skin to get information about blood pressure,” Texas A & M’s electrical and computer engineering researcher and research co-author Khansel told The Daily Beast. .. “Tattoos are an interface. When a tattoo is transferred, it gives a reliable long-term connection to the skin.”
The circuit leads to a small box of electronic equipment that sends information to the computer. The computer uses machine learning to generate biometric data. The entire system works by sending an electric current to the skin of the arm, allowing it to detect changes in the volume of the arteries in the arm (that is, changes in blood pressure).
“You have blood that passes through arteries,” Austin’s UT bioelectronics researcher and research co-author Dmitry Kireev told The Daily Beast. “This will change the amount of arteries, and this is what we pick up.”
As a reminder, this is just a prototype. The team hopes to further improve the system to fit smartwatches and enable more accurate blood pressure measurements. This represents a significant improvement over current smartwatch technologies that rely on optical systems to detect heart rate. This is problematic for several reasons.
For one thing, optical systems are based on the reflection of light from the skin, which “doesn’t transmit much,” says Cell. People with dark skin will have more difficult times with these systems, notoriously.
e-tattoo can lay the foundation for off-the-shelf cuffless blood pressure monitors that allow patients to detect important biometric data and send it to their doctors without the hassle of a machine. According to Sel, this data may include “muscle contraction, hydration, changes in tissue composition, and even breathing.”