Researchers at the University of Texas have developed a bio-integrated health sensor that can be applied to the skin like a temporary “tattoo” to take vitals signs. Utilizing graphene, the tattoo has a significantly smaller form factor than conventional sensor equipment.
It is graphene’s unique characteristics that lends the material to the flexible electronic tattoo. Its one atom thick structure allows it to be flexible enough to move with the skin while its mechanical resilience allows it to withstand damage from the stretching and compression the tattoo would undergo. Plus, being conductive makes it a perfect material for a minimalist and non-invasive vitals monitoring system.
The researchers start by depositing an atom thick layer of graphene onto a sheet of copper. In the next step, the graphene is coated with a stretchy base layer polymer and the copper is etched off.