They develop “OLED tattoos” that allow lights to be placed directly on the skin
Tattoos, in addition to being decorative, can have many other functions for people. It is the idea on which researchers from the University of London and the Italian Institute of Technology have been based. From there they have created, for the first time, tattoos that emit light. They say that it can be useful to alert and issue relevant information, as well as in the world of fashion.
The temporary tattoo created uses a well-known technology that allows light to be emitted by organic diodes, los paneles OLED. Essentially they have created extremely thin and flexible OLED panels so that they sit on the skin without bulging too much.
It is also worth noting that a needle is not used as in traditional tattoos to place it on the skin. They are temporary tattoos and to apply them on the skin uses a method similar to temporary tattoos that come as a sticker and adhere by placing water. In other words, we are looking at an OLED sticker.
The tattoo is really very fine, just 2.3 micrometers thick. It is a polymer that emits light when an electric field is applied between the electrodes. From there, an insulating layer has been placed between these electrodes and the layer that acts as a sticker for the tattoo.
If you just have to apply it to the skin and add some water to place it, removing it is not much more complex. As they explain, just wash it with soap and water to get rid of it. The tattoo can in fact be applied on many other surfaces and not only the skin, for example on glass or on plastic, but also on fruit skins.
Why use a tattoo with lights
According to the researchers, these tattoos they can be useful to combine them with other wearable technologies on the skin. They can for example be used with a sensor to determine if an athlete is dehydrated, also with decorative elements for the world of fashion or even in food to know if they have expired or not.
They say it is the first time that they have shown that these tattoos can be made to scale and cheaply. Despite this, they have not determined what the cost of mass manufacturing these OLED tattoos would be. There is still a need to improve resistance and integration with other modules such as a battery, they indicate in the research.
It is not the first time that they develop smart tattoos. We previously saw how a smart tattoo was used to interface with the skin. Others more complex still serve to monitor the health of the wearer.