Screen Printed Electronic Tattoo Tracks Emotions

Researching reactions to situations or products is a major challenge for pollsters and advertisers. They either have to rely on surveys or use electromyography. But questionnaires are inevitably subjective and the use of electromyography is limited to laboratories. Printed electronics now offer a solution for this issue.

electronic-tattoo

Researching reactions to situations or products is a major challenge for pollsters and advertisers. They either have to rely on surveys or use electromyography. But questionnaires are inevitably subjective and the use of electromyography is limited to laboratories. Printed electronics now offer a solution for this issue.

Electronic Tattoo offers great comfort

Scientists from Tel Aviv University (TAU) have recently developed a novel skin electrode. Their invention measures emotions by monitoring facial expressions through electric signals received from facial muscles. To this end they combined state of the art nanotechnology with the easy usage. The so called Electronic Tattoo is composed of three parts: A carbon electrode, an adhesive surface that sticks temporary tattoos to the skin, and a nanotechnology-based conductive polymer coating. In order to produce the electrode the researchers used screen-printing of silver and carbon inks on a soft support.

Professor Yael Hanein from TAU’s Center for Nanoscience & Nanotechnology explains why she and her team decided to package electronic sensors into a thin and flexible material: “The idea is: Stick it on and forget about it.” Thanks to the Electronic Tattoo’s large comfort users can wear it like a temporary tattoo and carry on as usual with their daily routines. Meanwhile the electrode records their muscle activity for many hours, without irritating the skin.

High potential for the Electronic Tattoo in medical science

Overall, the Electronic Tattoo can be applied for both, commercial matters and medical purposes. After all, it does not only provide insights into our emotional life. Currently it is used, for instance, to monitor the muscle activity of patients with neurodegenerative diseases in a study at the Tel Aviv Medical Center.

Other scopes for this electrode are to help patients moving artificial limbs or improving their muscle control after a stroke or brain injury. Furthermore it can deliver physiological data that indicates the alertness of drivers on the road.

Which other applications areas do you see for printed electrodes? Let us know in a comment below!