Another tech gadget in the news this week as one company proposes temporary tattoos as a novel way to track a patient’s health status. A medical sensor that attaches to the skin like a temporary tattoo could make it easier for doctors to detect metabolic problems in patients and for coaches to fine-tune athletes’ training routines. And the entire sensor comes in a thin, flexible package shaped like a smiley face.

Temp Tattoo Skin Monitor

happy-face-tattooThe University of Toronto has developed the tool as an alternative to monitor child health during activities by concealing the sensor electrodes. The new tattoo-based solid-contact ion-selective electrode (ISE) is made using standard screen printing techniques and commercially available transfer tattoo paper, the same kind of paper that usually carries tattoos of Spiderman or Disney princesses. In the case of the sensor, the “eyes” function as the working and reference electrodes, and the “ears” are contacts for a measurement device to connect to.

The uses of the technology are widespread as the sensors can detect changes in the skin’s pH levels in response to metabolic stress from exertion. Similar devices, called ion-selective electrodes (ISEs), are already used by medical researchers and athletic trainers. They can give clues to underlying metabolic diseases such as Addison’s disease, or simply signal whether an athlete is fatigued or dehydrated during training.

The researchers used standard screen printing techniques to create the sensor tattoos with a smiley face design that are significantly less bulky than existing sensors and stay attached better than those with normal adhesives. Look for a smiley electrode tattoo coming soon to a patient care system near you.

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Check out this news item link and all of the other additional resource links for this episode of the Nursing Show in the show notes for this episode — Hypothyroidism Nursing Review and Episode 227.

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