Last year we saw a unique tattoo that could used to add an actual working circuit to your skin, albeit one that wasn't made to last. Now a new team of researchers has designed a nanotech ink that can actively track both muscle and nerve activity under your skin.
The fascinating technology originates from Tel Aviv University in Israel and consists of a carbon electrode, an adhesive surface that attaches to the skin and a special nanotechnology-based conductive polymer coating that improves the electrode's ability to operate on your body. The idea is this temporary transfer registers a reliable signal for hours without irritating the skin.
The tech was first created to offer a painless alternative to electromyography, an uncomfortable process used to test potentially damaged muscles and nerves. Since this new nanotech can be worn without irritation or discomfort, it could effectively remove the need to perform electromyography ever again.
The team behind the futuristic ink could also be used in a different capacity - to monitor emotions by tracking facial expressions. For professor Yael Hanein, head of TAU's Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, the technology has really intriguing potential in this field. "The ability to identify and map people's emotions has many potential uses," comments professor Hanein.
"Advertisers, pollsters, media professionals, and others — all want to test people's reactions to various products and situations," he adds. "Today, with no accurate scientific tools available, they rely mostly on inevitably subjective questionnaires. Researchers worldwide are trying to develop methods for mapping emotions by analyzing facial expressions, mostly via photos and smart software. But our skin electrode provides a more direct and convenient solution."
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