This Tattoo Ink Changes Colour When Your Blood Sugar Levels Drop

Hasan Variawa |

The biosensing ink is particularly helpful for those with diabetes

If you’re the type of person who would need to explain a new tattoo to your parents, perhaps you should try one that’s good for your health. Researchers at MIT have developed a tattoo ink with biosensing ink that helps people monitor their wellbeing. The DermalAbyss changes colours based on changes in the interstitial fluid, which surrounds tissue cells in your body.

It’s particularly useful for people with diabetes, or other health conditions that require constant monitoring. Currently, diabetics need to pierce themselves 3 to 10 times per day to monitor their glucose. With the DermalAbyss, they’d need just one initial piercing in the form of a tattoo (though, technically, a tattoo consists of thousands of little piercings).

So far, the researchers have developed biosensors based on three biochemical data points. There’s the glucose sensor, which changes from blue to brown when blood sugar increases. A pH sensor changes between purple and pink as alkalinity increases, and a sodium sensor becomes a more intense green under UV light when salt levels increase.

“The DermalAbyss creates a direct access to the compartments of the body and reflects inner metabolic processes in a shape of a tattoo,” researchers wrote. “It could be used for applications in continuously monitoring such as medical diagnostics, quantified self, and data encoding in the body.”

Learn more by watching a video on the DermalAbyss below.

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