A research team from MIT Media Lab and Harvard Medical School working together on a Tattoo Ink that can monitor your health. This tattoo ink changes color based on the levels of glucose, sodium, or pH in your body and by analyzing these color changes you can monitor your health.
This is the idea of the MIT Media Lab researcher Katia Vega, who thinks one day our skin will act as an ‘interactive display’, whose project DermalAbyss explores the possibilities of tattoos inked with biosensors instead of traditional ink. The ink acts as a biosensor that reads interstitial fluids – the liquids that surround tissue cells in the body.
As this ink can sense glucose level, when blood sugar goes up, this ink changes from blue to brown. When a person’s salt levels increase, the sodium sensing ink becomes a more vibrant green under UV light. When alkaline levels shifts, a pH sensor changes from purple to pink.
Now for people with to prick their finger multiple times a day to test their blood sugar level. Just by making this tattoo on their body they can measure the glucose level in the body without any external equipment. This biosensing tattoo could tell a diabetic what dose of insulin they needed to re-balance their blood sugar at any time.
A sodium biosensor tattoo that glows under UV light could be used to inform the wearer of the amount of water in their body, which could be particularly useful for dehydration and overhydration. It can also measure the pH level of the body.
The researchers suggest that their tattoo inks, which they say are currently just at the ‘proof of concept’ stage, could offer new ways of monitoring the body.
As of now, we can say that tattoos aren’t just for decorating the body, it could now convey real-time data about your body. 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.