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Summary:

The University of Texas-Austin team behind the patch reports it is the first that can store data, which could be important for long-term health monitoring.

E-skin electronic tattoo
photo: Donghee Son / Jongha Lee

Ultra-thin sticky patches packed with electronics, sometimes known as e-skin or e-tattoos, could someday track our health and deliver drugs at exactly the right moment.

Researchers at the University of Texas-Austin have taken a step closer to that future by combining many features of existing e-tattoos to create a version that can both monitor health and deliver drugs. The team says it is the first patch that can also store data, which can then be uploaded to a computer.

The patch is just 0.003 millimeters thick — far thinner than a piece of human hair. It’s capable of sensing movement and vital signs like temperature via tiny sensors. It also contains RAM for storage.

The Austin team believes the patch could someday be of use to people with epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease. It could also be used to monitor patients after they leave the hospital or deliver drugs over long periods of time.

Unfortunately, the tattoo can’t yet operate on its own, according to Nature. To support the memory feature, it still needs to be wired to a power supply and data transmitter. Researchers have already miniaturized both technologies, but no current solutions are flexible enough to be integrated into an e-skin patch. Wirelessly transmitting the data it collects would also be challenging.

“It’s a pretty complicated system to integrate onto a piece of tattoo material,” study co-author Nanshu Lu said to Nature. “It’s still pretty far away.”

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  1. This is the beginning of the Mark of the Beast.

  2. It’s one thing to believe in God but believing in a book written 2000 years ago and translated hundreds of not thousands of times. Also the church keeping some gospels and throwing out others doesn’t make “The Mark of the Beast” a very credible statement. Please stop with this. You can fully believe in a good and believe in superstition.

    1. *believe in God and not superstition

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