University of Illinois researchers have developed a tattoo-like electronic mesh that attaches to skin, and can measure vital statistics and report them wirelessly to a computer. The thin device includes electrodes, sensors, power, and a wireless communications system, in what looks like no more than a bandage, reports MIT Technology Review. The sensors can measure the hydration and temperature of the skin beneath it, as well as any strain being applied to the area. The mesh is applied by a rubber stamp, and it could be used to discreetly monitor a patient's recovery sites after surgery.
According to MIT Technology Review, the research team previously developed this technology in a thicker form that adhered to a rubber backing. It's now one-thirteenth as thick as before, and it can be worn for up to two weeks before it will begin to naturally fall off. Despite the seemingly flimsier makeup, this new version holds up better to wear and tear, and applying something as simple as a spray-on bandage over top of the device will provide a significant amount of further protection. The project's lead researcher cofounded a company called MC10, and he hopes that a year and a half from now MC10 will be able to bring the new developments to market.