Electronic ‘Tattoo’ monitors heart health in real time

New wearable electronic tattoo technology made from stretchy, lightweight material could make heart health monitoring easier and more accurate.

The new device is so lightweight and stretchable that it can remain over the heart for extended periods. It measures cardiac health in two ways, taking electrocardiograph and seismocardiograph readings simultaneously.

Most of us are familiar with the electrocardiogram (ECG), a method that records the rates of electrical activity produced each time the heart beats. Seismocardiography (SCG) is a measurement technique using chest vibrations associated with heartbeats.

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A smartphone remotely powers the e-tattoo, which researchers say is the first ultrathin and stretchable technology to measure both ECG and SCG.

The new e-tattoo is made of a piezoelectric polymer called polyvinylidene fluoride, capable of generating its own electric charge in response to mechanical stress.

The device also includes 3D digital image correlation technology used to map chest vibrations in order to identify the best location on the chest to place the e‐tattoo.

The device is the latest incarnation of Lu’s electronic tattoo technology, a graphene-based wearable device that can be placed on the skin to measure a variety of body responses, from electrical to biomechanical signals.

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They recently developed a smartphone app that not only stores the data safely but can also show a heart beating on the screen in real time.

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