New colour-changing tattoo ink monitors your health in real time

MIT researchers have developed a new colour-changing tattoo ink that responds to changes in the body.

The project, called DermalAbyss, originated from a collaboration between MIT’s researchers and Harvard Medical School. Scientists are using liquid biosensors instead of traditional ink to turn the human skin into an “interactive display” combining efforts from Fluid Interfaces and biotechnology.

“The Dermal Abyss creates a direct access to the compartments in the body and reflects inner metabolic processes in the shape of a tattoo,” the team writes on the project website.

One of the three sensor inks developed can measure glucose levels, shifting from blue to brown as blood sugar rises.

“It could be used for applications in continuously monitoring such as medical diagnostics, quantified self, and data encoding in the body,” adds the team.

This new tattoo could be useful for people with diabetes who often rely on pin-prick blood tests to monitor their glucose levels. However, this amazing technology still needs to go through several stages of tests before being termed as safe for humans.

“It will take a long time for anything practical to go to market, but it [the technology] evokes imaginations and opens up possibilities,” explains Xin Liu from MIT to CBS News.

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