Every year for the last few years, wearable technology has been one of the hottest topics at CES. We’ve seen everything from smartwatches to smart shoes, smart jewelry and smart shirts, and smart functions added to just about anything else you can attach to your body. This year, we got up close and personal with smart tattoo. The Rotex Electronic Tattoo claims to perform many of the typical functions of your wrist-mounted activity tracker—monitoring vital signs, brainwaves, muscle performance, etc.—through an ultrathin adhesive patch that sticks directly to your skin. There is even the possibility that these tattoos can track muscle movements and translate them into commands that would allow the wearer to wirelessly control a device.
No other equipment is needed for the tattoo to perform its monitoring, though a small auxiliary device about the size of a package of gum is used to read the recorded data. That device can then send the data to your smartphone or computer for further analysis. The tattoos are temporary, but should last a full week, surviving showers and regular exercise. Will this replace your Fitbit? Not likely, though it might someday. A more likely application would be for people who need to monitor their vitals for significant health reasons but don’t want to wear a bracelet or other comparatively bulky device 24/7. The Rotex Electronic Tattoo will be hitting the market sometime mid-year, so keep an eye out if it’s of any interest to you!