"Smart Tattoos" In Development

Inks include ones that change from green to brown in response to an increasing blood sugar level and a green ink that becomes more intense as sodium levels increase, which is an indicator of dehydration.

The researchers paired biosensitive inks with traditional tattoo artistry as a way to overcome some of the limitations of biomedical monitoring devices that now do not seamlessly integrate with the body.

The Dermal Abyss tattoo inks alter color based on the chemistry of the body's interstitial fluid.

"We were thinking: [W] hat is the next generation after wearables?" "And so we came up with the idea that we could incorporate biosensors in the skin". Short battery life is one of the major drawbacks, as is the need for wireless connectivity.

"We wanted to go beyond what is available through wearables today", he said.

More news: Services announced for National Hockey League announcer Dave Strader

The development of smart ink has been conducted by a two-member team of postdoctoral fellows at HMS, including Yetisen and his colleague Nan Jiang, and researchers' group led by Katia Vega at MIT's Media Lab.

As a result, whenever sodium or glucose levels increase the ink changes its colour indicating signs of dehydration or an increase in blood sugar levels.

Lio and Vega did reiterate that the Dermal Abyss project is strictly a research project, and there are now no plans to develop the biosensor ink into a medical product, or progress with clinical trials. Scientists are still working to stabilize the ink so designs don't fade or diffuse into surrounding tissue-features long sought after by traditional tattoo artists.

The ink could also be developed to only be visible under specific kinds of light, such as from a smartphone, to address possible privacy concerns. Those issues need to be sorted before the tattoo ink could be used for medical needs.

The scientists presented the advantages of this biotechnology, including the ability to use it without electricity or charging, its weightlessness, and the fact that changes in a person's skin would not affect how these tattoos work. "These questions of how technology impacts our lives must be considered as carefully as the design of the molecular sensors patients may someday carry embedded in their skin".

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