Temporary tattoos that can measure brain signals wirelessly

A group of researchers have developed "epidermal electronics" that can pick up brain signals.

If you're considering getting a tattoo, think long and hard. New, temporary ink could pick up on those brain waves and turn them into more than wishful revelries.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have collaborated on "epidermal electronics" — temporary tattoos that can wirelessly measure brain signals.

They are developing "foldable, stretchable electrode arrays that can non-invasively measure neural signals," according to their website.

Electrical engineer Todd Coleman at the University of California, San Diego, said the devices could be used to monitor for cognitive impairment, including Alzheimer's, schizophrenia and depression.

"We can pick up well-known brain markers reflective of" those conditions, he said.

And epidermal electronics can also pick up brain signals that mean something has caught a person’s attention, such as an advertisement or game. This, Coleman said, could lead to innovations in consumer products, specifically on smartphones and mobile devices.


Earlier studies by Coleman's team showed that people could fly toy airplanes using only their minds. But the study participants were wearing electrode caps.

The temporary tattoos are an attempt to shrink those caps down. Txchnologist reported that Coleman’s team is working on using the devices to pilot planes and unmanned aerial vehicles, such as drones.

Additionally, Txchnologist reported, the tattoos could be placed on other areas of the body, such as the throat, where they could make silent, wireless communication — a sort of digital telekinesis — possible.

But for now Coleman and his team are focusing on their company, neuroVerse, and health-related products. He said they have begun to gain access to patients who may benefit from using the epidermal electronics.


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