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Monday, 14 October 2019
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Raw materials & technologies, Technologies

Tattoo ink can sense how healthy a person is

Friday, 30 June 2017

A new tattoo ink changes colour depending on a person's glucose levels, meaning people with diabetes can use it to check their blood sugar levels.

The biosensing inks in the tattoo can measure indicators like pH and glucose. Source: Pixabay

The biosensing inks in the tattoo can measure indicators like pH and glucose. Source: Pixabay

The research project, called DermalAbyss, is a collaboration between MIT students as well as Harvard Medical School students.

Interactive display

Their idea is to turn the skin, via tattoos, into a kind of interactive display. The inks they created can sense health indicators like the pH, glucose, and sodium ion levels in interstitial fluid, and change color according to the current level. "The pH sensor changes between purple and pink, the glucose sensor shifts between blue and brown; the sodium and a second pH sensor fluoresce at a higher intensity under UV light," the researchers say in the video.

Tested on pig skin

So far, these biosensing inks have only been tested on pig skin, but there's no reason these tattoos shouldn't become reality. Technology like this would be hugely beneficial to people with diabetes, who could check their blood sugar by merely looking at their arm rather than using expensive and painful blood tests. It won't be long before body-mod fanatics are using inks likes these on themselves.

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