In the not too distant future, your doctor might recommend that you get a tattoo.
Researchers at Harvard and MIT have developed smart tattoo ink that changes color when an athlete is dehydrated or a diabetic’s blood sugar is too low. While research is in the early stages, the “Dermal Abyss” project could revolutionize the way doctors monitor patients’ health, reported the Harvard Gazette.
A patient would have a traditional tattoo made with biosensitive tattoo ink that would change color when the patient required treatment. When the body’s chemistry changes, the Dermal Abyss tattoo changes color. So far researchers have developed an ink that changes from green to brown as glucose concentration increases. Another green ink grows more intense as sodium concentration rises, signaling dehydration.
For diabetics who currently have to wear a monitoring device, there would be no more concerns about battery life or the need for wireless connectivity, and of course, no monitoring device to carry around.
The team of researchers has already developed an app that could scan the tattoo and provide quantitative diagnostic results. Harvard Medical School’s postdoctoral fellow Ali Yetisen says than in addition to helping patients, the app and smart tattoo could be used for astronauts and in other cases where health monitoring is necessary but sometimes difficult.