Color-Changing Tattoo Ink That Monitors Our Health in Real Time
Scientists have created a new revolutionary tattoo ink which changes its color according to certain changes in the body. For instance, changes in the sodium or blood sugar levels.
Instead of the usual tattoo ink, researchers use a liquid with biosensors to make the human skin an “interactive display.” The one-of-a-kind proof-of-concept is surely an interesting one to watch.
But, the idea is much more than just interesting. It could become a groundbreaking new method to monitor human’s health.
The name of the entire project is Dermal Abyss. The team consists of researchers from Harvard Medical School and MIT who are sharing and combining their knowledge on the topic of biotechnology and Fluid Interfaces.
So far, they came up with 3 different color-changing inks which respond to changes in the tissue fluid. The solution surrounds the cells and takes about 16% of the total body weight.
3 Different Tattoo Inks and Their Meaning
The most exciting ink is the one which changes its color when there’s a change in the person’s blood sugar levels. As the glucose increases, the ink color changes from blue to brown.
The revolutionary invention could ease the everyday life of those with diabetes who have to monitor their blood sugar levels regularly via pin-prick blood tests.
Another ink is the pink one that changes its color to purple according to variations in the pH levels in the body. The last ink reveals changes in the sodium levels. People can notice its vivid green color under UV light when the levels of salt increase.
Researchers explain more about these unique tattoo inks on the Dermal Abyss website. They say the project’s purpose is to detect changes in the inner metabolic state through a tattoo.
For those who have diabetes or any other health condition that requires regular dietary monitoring, the whole concept would be extremely helpful. Plus, it’s exciting even for those with no health problems, especially data nerds.
Xin Liu is one of the MIT researchers included in the project. He says a lot of patients are contacting them saying they want to try out the tattoo ink.
But, since the project is still in the proof-of-concept stage, it’s not known when it’ll become a real product. So, people can’t sign up for one of these revolutionary ink tattoos, at least for now.
The Product Needs More Research before It Hits the Market
Scientists used patches of pig skin to test the tattoo inks. They changed the fluids’ levels to be detected using injections.
People can see the testing on pig skin patches in the video below. Also, there’s a digital rendering of how would those unique tattoo inks look like on a human arm.
The inks should pass a number of stages of rigorous tests before being approved for humans. Of course, it should go through animal tests first, and then eventually in humans. Researchers must check for possible adverse reactions such as allergies.
Also, they say it needs more research before they could say the tattoo indicators are accurate. For now, they can’t say that, so it’ll take quite a bit time before the product hits the market. Still, Liu reports the technology surely opens up possibilities.
The project will be presented at the International Symposium on Wearable Computers in September 2017.