AUSTIN, Texas — For the past three years, project co-leaders and research associates Dmitry Kireev (UT-Austin) and Kaan Sel (Texas A&M), along with their teams, have been searching for a new way to record blood pressure.
“Technology is trying to change the paradigm of how we measure blood pressure,” Sel said. “Blood pressure is the Holy Grail in medicine. We need blood pressure. Doctors use it all the time.”
A collaborative effort between the University of Texas and Texas A&M, researchers have been looking for a way to move beyond the use of the standard cuff. They say it’s an archaic practice of blood pressure measurement used since the 1880s.
“It inflates, deflates, only gives one measurement. It’s not comfortable, it’s bulky,” Sel said. “It bothers you.”
Using advancements in modern technology, researchers are developing a first-of-its-kind graphene e-tattoo.
“It’s a monolayer of carbon,” Kireev said. “We transfer the image onto tattoo paper, like you used in childhood. Then you take the tattoos put them on the skin, somewhere over your arteries. When you’re done, you have this beautiful array of tattoos transferred right in a single bunch.”
The subject is connected to a computer, where the tattoos provide an endless source of information near the palm of your hand. Researchers use computer algorithms to chart medical data that can be monitored for almost 24 hours.
“You can capture blood pressure throughout the day, during the nighttime and daily activities,” Sel said. “We can truly access the health of individuals.”
The hope is within five years, the technology can go wireless. With that, an opportunity for the world to share in this Texas-sized discovery.
“When we get to the final product, it can be used in a smartwatch,” Sel said.
“Prevention, prevention of the problem,” Kireev said. “This is the key parameter in maybe creating a healthier society.”