Small, disposable “tattoos” that measure specific things in the body are steadily gaining traction for medicinal and monitoring purposes. A new invention continues that trend. Scientists from University of California, San Diego have created a temporary tattoo that can accurately measure alcohol levels.
Should this tech be embraced, the invasive nature blood alcohol analysis as well as the unreliability of breathalyzers could become a thing of the past. The research offers an alternative solution for law enforcement as well as those looking to track their own intake.
The key here is sweat, which can be used to measure alcohol levels. The silver and silver chloride electrodes on the tattoo paper trigger a current activating a gel in the tattoo, releasing a drug that forces the skin to sweat. With the production of sweat, an electrochemical sensor made of an alcohol-sensitive enzyme measures alcohol concentration.
All the monitoring is controlled by an electronic board connected magnetically to the tattoo. The board records the measurements and transmits the data via Bluetooth to a smartphone. The study was published in ACS Sensors. The tech is currently one-time use, but the researchers are planning to separate board and tattoo to make the device last longer.