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Brain and Mental Performance Diagnostics Innovation Medical Technology

Inkjet Printed Tattoo Electrodes Deliver EEG Measurements

9 months, 3 weeks ago

5125  0
Posted on May 21, 2020, 4 p.m.

Image Credit: © Greco – TU Graz University

Engineers from TU Graz University of Technology have been working to optimize a novel technology utilizing temporary tattoo electrodes to record electroencephalography brain activity; this technology is relatively cheap and can be produced by an inkjet printer to deliver EEG measurements as accurately as traditional electrodes. 

This technology was initially developed in 2015, and it was demonstrated to be effective at recording ECG and EMG data; now additional development and optimization have allowed the tattoo style electrodes to capture EEG signals. 

"Brain waves are in the low frequency range and EEG signals have a very low amplitude,” explains Laura Ferrari, one of the authors on the new study. “They are much more difficult to capture in high quality than EMG or ECG signals.”

The electrodes are created using conductive polymers that are printed through a standard inkjet printer. Clinical testing has found this technology to be as effective in measuring EEG signals as are conventional electrodes that require application by trained individuals. However, consistent measurements over a long period of time are unreliable as the application requires the use of a wet conductive gel that progressively dries out within a few hours. 

These electrodes can offer accurate and stable skin contact that can be maintained over a period of time when frequent EEG measurements are needed, and this innovation is suggested to be cheaper than traditional wet electrodes as well as being significantly more comfortable, according to Francesco Greco of the Graz University of Technology who is one of the originators of this technology. 

Additionally the new optimized electrodes are suggested to also be effective with MEG measurements, this data can complement EEG measurements to offer highly localized brain activity data. 

"Due to inkjet printing and the commercially available substrates, however, our tattoos are significantly less expensive than current EEG electrodes and also offer more advantages in terms of wearing comfort and long-term measurements in direct comparison,” says Greco. "With our method, we produce the perfect MEG-compatible electrode while reducing costs and production time," adds Greco.

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