Nanshu Lu with e-tattoo

A cross-disciplinary team of researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a new kind of electronic tattoo that monitors bodily functions and signals from the heart and brain.

The Graphene Electrical Tattoo (GET), developed by Nanshu Lu of the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics and Deji Akinwande of the Department of Electrical Engineering, is the thinnest soft electronic tattoo ever made and is capable of measuring biometric signals like heart rate, muscle activity and skin temperature.

Despite its fragile appearance, the GET is made of graphene, a 2D biodegradable material that is 200 times stronger than steel. Lu has been developing her electronic tattoos for years and recently invented a method for producing them inexpensively using a “cut-and-paste” manufacturing method. Akinwande works extensively with nanomaterials and flexible electronic systems made of 2D materials like graphene. He recently received the inaugural Moore Inventor Fellowship for his creation of silicene.

Watch Lu and Akinwande explain their new e-tattoo on the BBC.