Are Electronic Tattoo Sensors The Future of Media?
Skin signals: This device, applied directly to the skin, can record useful medical information.
Thanks to the creative genius of John Rogers, new electronic sensors that resembles a small tattoo could help monitor health during normal daily activities. The sensor, printed directly onto the skin, can last up to two weeks and can record and transmit vital medical information between you and your doctor. “Taking advantage of recent advances in flexible electronics, researchers have devised a way to “print” devices directly onto the skin so people can wear them for an extended period while performing normal daily activities. Such systems could be used to track health and monitor healing near the skin’s surface, as in the case of surgical wounds.”
Imagine the implications this could have on emerging media. As a marketing professional, I am excited at the prospect this new technology could hold for all aspects of marketing media. One example of how this information could be used is in the area of market research. Market research professionals could utilize the tattoo sensor when researching markets for new brand introductions. Using the sensor, market research volunteers could collect data, such as weekly buying habits and brand choices, and the data collected could be sent back wirelessly via strategically located vendor kiosks. Of course, this is just one example of the many marketing uses I can think of. I believe the potential for this technology will only be limited by ones imagination.
“Rogers says his lab is now focused on developing and refining wireless power sources and communication systems that could be integrated into the system. He says the technology could potentially be commercialized by MC10 (see “Making Stretchable Electronics”), a company he cofounded in 2008. If things go as planned, says Rogers, in about a year and half the company will be developing more sophisticated systems “that really do begin to look like the ones that we’re publishing on now.”
Thanks to Mike Orcutt, writer for MIT Technology Review, who shared this information via his article: Electronic Sensors Printed Directly on the Skin.
April 2, 2013 at 12:07 am
This was a very interesting article. There are endless possibilities with this technology for marketers. You brought up some great points about how this could be used for marketing research. This would be a very convenient way for researchers to collect data and it would not impact the respondent’s daily life. Great blog post!
April 8, 2013 at 1:13 am
Wow! I enjoyed your post, and from the marketing perspective I see the immense opportunities in this, however from a personal stance it bothers me. It feels to big-brother and tracking everything that I spend my money on feels to intrusive. In today’s environment anyone who has a debit card or credit card all of these transactions are tractable and are driven by tran codes at every financial institution or credit card company. Companies such as banks, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, etc..know all of this information on how consumers are spending their dollars, but unknown to the average consumer.
With that said, I believe that all emerging medias and markets can be controversial for businesses and consumers and how we as marketers interact with them. It will be interesting to see how this technology develops and is transmitted to the community.
April 9, 2013 at 9:45 pm
Thanks for sharing your input. I think you voice a major concern for the consumer: privacy. Do you think the “fear” of privacy invasion would change if the tattoo sensor looked more like an Ed Hardy tattoo. What about adding a feature where consumers could adjust their privacy settings? Imagine being able to use the sensor to pass on your “business card” to others who have a mobile app scanner for this tattoo sensor?
April 9, 2013 at 9:49 pm
Thank you for weighing in on the blog post. Being a SciFi fan, I eat this stuff up!
April 8, 2013 at 1:14 am
This is a fascinating technology, but I can’t tell you how scared I am at the thought of its being used for marketing. It really raises the question about the ethics of tracking people, and if they will accept it.
Yes, marketing data is valuable to businesses, but a late 2012 study by Boston Consulting Group found that “[M]ost consumers are concerned about how their personal data are used: 88 percent consider at least one industry to be a threat to their privacy when they are online.” It also found that consumers didn’t know how their data was being used and didn’t follow privacy-protection measures. (Could that be because they didn’t know how much information was being collected, that they could control privacy to a certain extent, or how to set privacy settings correctly? Even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg famously had his own personal photos exposed after a change to the privacy settings on his own creation.)
What was interesting in this study, however, is that even though people were concerned about their privacy, they were willing to share information about themselves if the benefit to them was good enough. Check out the report summary here: https://www.bcgperspectives.com/content/articles/digital_economy_consumer_insight_value_of_our_digital_identity/
April 9, 2013 at 9:40 pm
Thanks for sharing the link. If marketers can get past the consumers fear factor about privacy invasion, I believe that these sensors will be a great tool to use. Maybe if, as you mentioned, the consumer could control the privacy settings on the device, more would be willing to participate in using it. Only time will tell.
May 13, 2013 at 3:56 am
Hi Gloria, great post. I believe in the endless possibilities and current trends of the evolution from “personal computers” to “wearable computers”. Embedded in our clothes and integrated to our every day lifestyle. Not only sports performance will be benefit (as the Nike Fuel Band showed) but also imagine the medical implication of having 24/7 diagnoses near your skin. The PC is dead, but reborn in new interface forms: http://emergingmediainimc.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/le-pc-est-mort-vive-le-pc/