Researchers from the University of Illinois have developed a thermometer that is so thin it is being labeled as a tattoo thermometer patch. The thermometer bonds with the skin and is only 5- microns thick, which is approximately half the width of a human hair.
Thermometer As An Indicator
While the thermometer is designed to detect the temperature of the skin, the fact that it can detect temperature changes around the area of skin where it is placed means that the tattoo thermometer can track heat flow. This information can indicate the way heat is moving around the blood system as well as how blood cells are contracting and relaxing. This in turn indicates cardiovascular activity.
The ultra-thin thermometer is a spectacularly thin rubber sheet that’s been perforated to allow the skin to behave normally. On the top of the rubber sheet are tiny gold wires and silicone membranes that will read and convey the information from the skins temperature. The tattoo thermometer is so precise that it can measure temperature to within a thousandth of a degree centigrade.
With a simple tweak, the thermometer can be transformed in to a heater that is able to heat the skin to the same precision as it uses to measure the heat. By warming the skin and blood to optimal temperatures, nutrients and prescription drugs may be absorbed more easily.
Researchers are already excited about the information that could be gained from the tiny tattoo thermometer. The lightweight, easy to use thermometer means that a person’s temperature may be monitored over an extended period of time in everyday life without any discomfort or inconvenience for the user. By watching the trends in temperature, people may be able to catch health problems earlier than before.
The tiny patches can also be produced with a larger surface area to cover other parts of the body. Eventually researches would like to use the tattoo thermometers in a completely wireless way on internal organs as well external to give people a clearer picture of how their body is working.
[Image via Phys Org]