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Stretchable electronic skin being developed to monitor vital signs

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Advances in polymer technology allow circuits to stretch just like human skin

Just when you thought tattoos couldn't get any cooler, scientists at Cambridge, Massachussetts startup MC10 are working on stretchable electronics that can be applied to a person's skin. The ultimate goal with these polymer patches is to allow them to be used to monitor a patient's vital signs, both externally and internally.

Thanks to advances in polymer substrate, microchips, LEDs, wireless technology, and even solar cells, this stretchable electronic skin may be the key to revolutionizing the medical diagnostic field. Or they could just allow you to have really cool light-up tattoos.

Previously, electronic-embedded polymer was only able to bend, but not stretch. MC10 aims to change this with the release of its first product, in partnership with Reebok, this fall. Although details are being kept secret, the company's skin patch products are meant to wirelessly transmit medical information such as heart rate, respiration, hydration, temperature, and more from the patient to a nearby smartphone. Stretchable balloon catheters are also being developed to allow high-resolution mapping of the heart to detect problematic cardiac tissue.

[Via Motherboard]

[Image credit: Circuit board hand via Shutterstock]

This article was written by Shawn Schuster and originally appeared on Tecca

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