Technology

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Tech Tats: Meet the new biowearables

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Body art for aesthetic appeal is a thing of the past. Say hello to the new Tech Tats; temporary tattoos that tell you your temperature, gives you statistics related to your health and prevent you from getting sick by warning you about serious health issues.

Whilst they may only be in the prototyping phase, these new tattoos gather all the information a doctor would need for a check up. If all goes to plan, the developers - Austin based software-design company Chaotic Moon - are excited about the implications. This new wave of wearable tech looks set to revolutionise the way we bank, visit the doctor and diagnose illnesses.

The Tech Tat is essentially a collection of biosensors sitting on your skin. At its heart, an ATiny85 microcontroller stores and receives data from temperature sensors via electroconductive paint, there are even ambient light sensors to illuminate the LEDs when it’s dark. Think of it like an advanced fitness tracker, only one that wears its technology on the outside.

Unlike a fitness tracker though, you can mount the tattoos on places other than just your wrist, their ingenious design means the tattoos have the capacity to monitor information from all over the body. In the future, they could be used to check a baby’s vitals after birth or to keep an eye on children on days out.

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Going in a totally different direction altogether; theoretically Tech Tats could also be used to authorise payments in a similar fashion to Apple Pay. But maybe that does sound a little space-age scary at the moment...

The Tech Tat can then transfer health data to an app on your mobile device using Bluetooth Low Energy (the same wireless wizardry that powers the Amazon Dash button). Chaotic Moon’s CEO, Ben Lamm, explained this process to VICE recently; “This is implemented by securely storing data on a skin mounted microcontroller and transferring the data when the user specifies, based on a gesture or fingerprint on a tap-to-pay style device”.

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“This is the new wearable..the future of all wearables is biowearables.”

Because of their ability to collect, store, send and receive data, Tech Tats have been dubbed biowearables: the next wave of wearable technology that actually interacts with the user. They also wash off easily, meaning they’re suitable for short term use. “This is the new wearable,” Lamm said. “The future of all wearables is biowearables.”

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Chaotic Moon’s aim is total integration, making clunky devices a thing of the past. We’re still getting used to the sci-fi connotations. But we’re excited to see where the Tech Tats takes us. Watch this space.

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