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If the science team’s project bears fruit, Koreans may soon be able to carry devices inside their bodies in the form of custom tattoos that automatically warn them of potential health problems.
Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon, southwest of Seoul, have developed an electronic tattoo ink made of liquid metal and carbon nanotubes that act as bioelectrodes.
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When connected to an electrocardiogram (ECG) device or other biosensor, the patient’s heart rate and other vital sign readings such as glucose and lactate can be sent to the monitor.
Researchers are aiming to eventually be able to omit the biosensor.
“In the future, we’ll be able to connect wireless chips integrated with this ink to communicate and send signals back and forth between the body and external devices,” said project leader Steve Park. I hope to do so,” he said. Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.
Such monitors could theoretically be placed anywhere, including the patient’s home.
The ink is non-invasive and made of particles based on gallium, a soft, silvery metal that is also used in semiconductors and thermometers. Platinum-decorated carbon nanotubes help conduct electricity while providing durability.
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“Once it’s on the skin, it won’t come off when you rub it, which you can’t do with liquid metal alone,” Park said.