This Tattoo Changes Colors As Your Blood Sugar Levels Change


blood sugar tattoo

Whether you’re a fan tattoos or would never consider getting one, you’ll have to admit—these are pretty cool.

Scientists have developed something called a “biosensing” tattoo that could help change the lives of people living with types 1 or 2 diabetes. How could a tattoo do this, you ask? Well, by changing color as the person’s blood sugar levels fluctuate.

This new tattoo is the hard work of a team of researchers from Harvard and MIT who call the project Dermal Abyss. The researchers replaced traditional tattoo ink with color-changing “biosensors” that react to variations in the interstitial fluid, which surrounds tissue cells in the human body.

“It blends advances in biotechnology with traditional methods in tattoo artistry,” the team writes on their website. “Currently … 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. Thus, the user could monitor the color changes and the need of insulin.”

insulin photo

The research focuses on four different biosensors that react to three different pieces of biochemical information that are evident in that interstitial fluid. The pH (or acidity) of the fluid changes between purple and pink, the glucose (sugar) sensor changes between blue and brown and the sodium and another pH sensor “fluoresce at a higher intensity under UV light.”

Tattoos In Action

Curious to see how the biosensing tattoos work? The cool video and the rest of the article can be found here.

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This Tattoo Changes Colors As Your Blood Sugar Levels Change

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