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Would you wear a temporary medical data tattoo?

While it might initially sound like something our robot overlords would use to keep track of us, fear not, as these medical “tattoos” rub off very easily if you don’t want them there, but the idea behind it is to give medical staff a way of keeping track of certain bodily functions at a distance over a short period of time, without the patient needing to come in for check ups.

Developed by John Rogers from the University of Illinois, the tech allows things like temperature, electrical signals and light exposure to be tracked and remotely tracked by minute wireless transmitters. The tattoo is adhered to the skin using spray on plaster technology and is so thin, that it should take a week or two to rub off – usually when the skin itself regenerates.

Medical tattoos
While there are security concerns, I'd rather have this than a load of beeping machines around me. Image Source: John Rogers.

Of course medical uses aren’t the only ones that this sort of technology has. It’s already been trialled as a voice recognition system that attaches to a person’s throat and detects the electrical signals sent to muscles there. These commands have been translated by various games. The instructions are basic, but according to Wired, the concept works well.

However the ideal for those looking at medical uses for this tech, is that patients will be able to be sent home much earlier from hospital, allowing them to recuperate in their own environment. Their data can still be tracked and they can be cared for remotely, away from other injured or ill individuals.

KitGuru Says: It sounds like this sort of technology could be abused by governments or shady organisations for nefarious tracking purposes. You’d have to know exactly where the data was going and its transmission would need to be extremely secure.

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