Palm E-Tattoo Can Tell When You’re Stressed – Zoo House News
- December 3, 2022
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Our palms tell us a lot about our emotional state and tend to get wet when people are excited or nervous. This response is used to measure emotional distress and help people with mental health issues, but the devices that now do this are bulky, unreliable, and can perpetuate social stigma by placing highly visible sensors on prominent parts of the body.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University have applied emerging electronic tattoo (e-tattoo) technology to this type of monitoring, known as electrodermal activity or EDA detection. In a new paper recently published in Nature Communications, researchers have developed a graphene-based e-tattoo that sticks to the palm, is almost invisible, and connects to a smartwatch.
“It’s so unobtrusive that people sometimes forget they’re wearing it, and it also reduces the social stigma of wearing these devices in such prominent places on the body,” said Nanshu Lu, a professor at the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics and leader of the project.
Lu and her collaborators have pioneered wearable e-tattoo technology for many years. Graphene is a popular material because of its thinness and how well it measures the electrical potential of the human body, resulting in very accurate readings.
But such ultra-thin materials don’t stand up to much, if anything. This makes them difficult to attach to body parts that involve a lot of movement, such as B. Palm/Wrist.
The mystery of this discovery is how the e-tattoo on the palm of the hand can successfully transmit data to a rigid circuit – in this case a commercially available smartwatch in ambulatory settings outside of the lab. They used a serpentine ribbon where two layers of graphene and gold partially overlapped. By moving the band back and forth, it can withstand the stresses of everyday activities like holding the steering wheel while driving, opening doors, running, etc.
Current palm monitoring technology uses bulky electrodes that fall off and are very visible, or EDA sensors that are attached to other parts of the body, which give less accurate readings.
Other researchers have tried similar methods using nanometer-thick straight ribbons to connect the tattoo to a reader, but they couldn’t handle the stress of constant movement.
Lu said the researchers were inspired by virtual reality (VR), games and the incoming metaverse for this research. VR is used in some cases to treat mental illness; However, human-aware capability in VR remains flawed in many ways.
“They want to know if people are responding to this treatment,” Lu said. “Does it help you? It’s hard to say at the moment.”
Other team members include Hongwoo Jang and Eunbin Kim from the Texas Materials Institute; Sangjun Kim and Kyoung-Ho Ha from the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering; Xiangxing Yang from the Chandra Family Electrical and Computer Engineering Department; and Kaan Sel and Roozbeh Jafari of Texas A&M’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Materials provided by the University of Texas at Austin. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.