Scientists from the Italian Institute of Technology (ITT), developed a temporary “smart tattoo” with light emission. These lights can be used on TVs and smartphones, which opens the way for new types of uses for that technology.

The prototypes use Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED) and are applied in the same way as water transfer tattoos and made on temporary tattoo paper.

The application is done in the same way as the gum tattoos from childhood, adhesive is glued to the skin, pressed and rubbed with water.

In an article published in Advanced Electronic Materials, the researchers say the technology can be used in combination with other tattoo electronics and assist, for example, in measuring an athlete’s hydration levels.

Other possibilities are the emission of lights when a person needs to get out of the sun to avoid burns. They can also be printed on product packaging or fruit to signal when they become unfit for consumption.

“The tattooable OLEDs that we demonstrated for the first time can be made at scale at a low cost,” said Franco Cacialli, senior author of the article. “They can be used, for example, in fashion, by providing shiny tattoos and nails that emit light,” he added.

Technology can be useful in health

In addition to sports and fashion, the new technology can also be applied to Health area. “They can emit light when there is a change in a patient’s condition,” explains Cacialli.

“If the tattoo is turned to the other side of the skin, they can be combined with light-sensitive therapies to target cancer cells,” he adds.

However, there are still some challenges for the product to actually reach the market, such as making devices more stable and durable.

“Future challenges will include encapsulating OLEDs as much as possible to prevent them from degrading rapidly through contact with air,” said the researcher.