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Published on : Jun 24, 2019

As per the new data by the National Center for Health Statistics in 2017, a particular form of heart disease has caused over 45,000 deaths across the state of Texas. However, a new technology developed by the engineers at the University of Texas and led by Nanshu Lu of Cockrell Scholl of Engineering, could significantly help in monitoring the heart health and also increase the accuracy of the current electrocardiograph machines.

Lu’s team has developed an electric tattoo or e-tattoo, which is a graphene-based wearable device. This device is placed on the patient’s skin to monitor numerous body responses ranging from biochemical to electrical signals.

The developed device is highly flexible and lightweight in nature, which then allows it to be imprinted on the patient’s heart for longer periods without causing any side effects. This tattoo monitors the cardiac activities by recording seismographic and electrocardiograph readings. This e-tattoo can be accessed remotely via a smartphone and is a first-of-its-kind to record both SCG and ECG readings.

While talking more about the product, Lu, who works as an associate professor in the Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics & Biomedical Engineering Department, said that with this new technology, they are expecting to get deeper insights in the cardiac activity and overall heart health. The simultaneous data collected from both ECG and SCG will give more accurate results as well as quality control.

The concept of e-tattoo in not new in the healthcare industry. Such tattoos have been successfully implanted and monitored across the globe including China and the U.S. Primarily these e-tattoos are used to monitor the regular functioning of the body such as body temperature and blood pressure. However, in this particular technology, the stretchable and ultra-thin SCG sensors make a key difference. Previously, because of their inability to stretch, these SCG sensors were bulky and very uncomfortable to wear. This new development may turn out to be the key to getting accurate heart health results without compromising the patients’ comfort.

Lu’s team is now also working towards improving the overall data collection and storage through these devices. They recently launched an app that shows heart beats in real time.