A new high tech tattoo may soon be your saving grace the next time you fall ill.
Woven of gold and silk, this temporary skin embossing could detect things like bacterial infections and let others know you’re sick.
By giving them a call. In theory, anyway.
The tech-savvy tats come embedded with antennae that would wirelessly alert nearby computers to your malady and help you receive prompt help.
This is the brainchild of Princeton professor Michael McAlpine, who recently received a grant through his university to expedite his research and make antenna tattoos a reality.
The engineering professor says he got the idea while reading about a woman who suddenly had an asthma attack at a grocery store.
‘She couldn’t breathe enough to tell first-responders what was wrong, but she had a tattoo on her arm that said she had asthma,’ McAlpine told Times of Trenton.
‘I thought, if she can have a passive tattoo that says “I have asthma,” why not have an active tattoo that can continuously track your health?’
McAlpine’s hope is that, now that he has grant funding, he will soon be testing his invention in hospitals.
He also hopes to lengthen the time the tattoo’s antenna, which can wash off with water, will stay on the body.
And this isn’t the first time McAlpine has thought up novel ways to detect disease in the body.
Last year, he and his team of researchers reported they’d found a way to test’s one’s breath for evidence of disease.
By placing a super thin form of carbon called graphene along with disease sensing peptides on a strip and ‘tattooing’ it onto teeth, they were able to detect infection and transit the data it to medical personnel.
It seems that McAlpine and his team have now taken their ‘tooth tattoo’ a step further and are exploring new and more innovative ways to put their research to use.