Color-Changing Tattoo Developed to Monitor Blood Sugar Levels
Monitoring blood glucose is painful as it requires pricking the skin several times a day. To aid diabetics in this area, a team of researchers from MIT and Harvard Medical School collaborated to work on a research project called DermalAbyss, a color-changing tattoo ink that reacts to sugar in the blood.
According to an article written by the researchers and posted on the MIT Media Lab:
“DermalAbyss is a proof-of-concept that presents a novel approach to bio-interfaces in which the body surface is rendered an interactive display. Traditional tattoo inks are replaced with biosensors whose colors change in response to variations in the interstitial fluid. It blends advances in biotechnology with traditional methods in tattoo artistry.”
Essentially, the color of the tattoo ink changes depending on the person’s blood sugar level – the brown hue turns blue when it detects low sugar level in the blood and when blood sugar is high, the blue color turns to brown, as explained by the Daily Mail Online.
Through this project, the researchers are hoping that diabetics would no longer have to endure the painful process of monitoring their blood sugar levels but would just observe the variation in the color of the tattoo.
“Currently, during daily activities and alimentary habits, diabetics need to monitor their glucose levels by piercing the skin, 3 to 10 times per day. With Dermal Abyss, we imagine the future where the painful procedure is replaced with a tattoo, of which the color from pink to purple based on the glucose levels. Thus, the user could monitor the color changes and the need of insulin,” wrote the researchers.
It is important to note that color-changing tattoo is still in the research stage and that plans for product development and clinical trials have yet to be determined.
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