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More Than Skin Deep

Be it Professor Xavier of X-Men fame or simply someone who is adept at 'reading' people, there is something inexplicable about mind- reading that appeals to us all. Now imagine having the ability to read brainwaves with something as simple as an electronic tattoo. Similar to bisector tattoos used to monitor sweat levels, the e-tattoo is here to make an even bigger leap in the realm of brainwave monitoring. An "electronic tattoo", which is more of a sticker than a tattoo, utilizes flexible electronic circuits to help record complex neural activity, and the results are as accurate as an Electroencephalography (EEG), which is the recording of electrical activity along the scalp. The same technology has been tested to monitor footsies during pregnancy.

Todd Coleman and his colleagues first developed the e-tattoo in 2011 at the University of California, San Diego, when they were designing strand. When applied to a person's skin, the patch acts as a temporary tattoo. These patches are capable of monitoring electroencephalogram signals specific to the heart and muscles, as well as rudimentary brain activity.

Since then, Coleman's group has improved the technology by optimizing the utility of the electrodes to process complex brainwaves. This capability was demonstrated by monitoring the P300 signals, which are delivered by the brain when it is attentive towards something of interest. We know this because of an experiment in which volunteers were asked to keep track of the number of times a certain object appeared in a series of images flashed before them. Every time the object showed up, the tattoo registered a blip in the P300 signal.

"The tattoo was as good as a conventional EEG at telling whether a person was looking at the target image or another stimulus", the team told a recent Cognitive Neuroscience Society meeting in San Francisco. The team is now working on modifying the tattoo, making it possible to transmit data wirelessly to a Smartened. With further development, the device will be able to identify even more complex patterns of brain activity, and will one day be able to control prosthetic limbs, amongst other uses. Currently, development is focused on optimizing the technology to treat depression and Alkalizes's disease, which have characteristic patterns of neural activity. Current usage is primarily for monitoring purposes to see if the medication is effective or not. Another application would be to monitor real-time fontanel activity in expecting mothers by using Smartening. We already have robotic exoskeletons that perceive neural signals and move muscles for the user. Combined with this technology, the exoskeletons may get tighter and cheaper, as the cost for manufacturing electronic tattoos is low.

In the distant future, we may very well be looking at a scenario where all brain signals can be mapped and observed, offering possibilities literally as endless as our very imagination. For more information visit solution.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.