Researchers have found a way to print electronic devices directly onto the skin so they can be worn for an extended period of time. 

The idea is that the devices can track a person's health and "monitor healing near the skin's surface, as in the case of serial wounds," writes Mike Orcutt. It can be worn for up to two weeks "until the skin's natural exfoliation process causes it to flake off." Until then, the device will measure things like the skin's hydration and temperature to get a general sense of a patient's well-being. 

As Orcutt points out, the electronic tattoo, which is currently being refined by John Rogers, a materials scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, could be applied to a wound post-surgery but before a patient leaves the hospital in order to "take measurements" and "transmit information wirelessly to the health-care providers." 

[via MIT Technology Review]