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The first generation of real wearable tattoos are here

One is designed for high-end research, the other to keep you safe in the sun.
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Whenever people talk about the technology of the future, someone will always bring up "tattoo-style" diagnostic technology. MC10, a firm that's emerged out of research by medical wearables pioneer John Rogers, has now been able to make devices like that a reality. The firm is announcing two new products here at CES, one designed for use in research environments as well as a consumer-facing version for the mass market. The first is the BioStamp Research Connect, a flexible wearable sensor that'll adhere to your skin and keep an eye on your vitals.

It's been designed specifically for researchers who are looking into problems with movement, motor skills and other neurodegenerative disorders. The adhesive medical tattoo — which, as you can see, looks more like a fancy Band-Aid, comes packing plenty of impressive technology. For instance, the firm has been able to bake-in an accelerometer and gyroscope into this dainty little package. In addition, the gadget also has hardware capable of monitoring the electrical activity generated by skeletal muscles, as well as a miniature ECG. It'll be available for purchase at some point this year, although probably the first people in the line will be pharmaceutical companies and universities.


The other device that MC10 is debuting here has been created in partnership with L'Oréal and is designed to let people know how badly their skin is being damaged by the sun. My UV Patch is a stretchable, ultra-thin sticker that's loaded with a series of dyes that change color depending on how long it's exposed to light. Users can then take a picture of the patch with their smartphone, with a companion app calculating how much damage they've silently endured. In addition, the app will offer suggestions on how to be more "skin safe," although we imagine that's the usual list of staying out of the sun, drinking more water and loading up on sunscreen. In some ways, My UV Patch reminds us of a less-sophisticated version of Way's $129 smart skin sensor that we saw at TechCrunch Disrupt last month.

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