New smart tattoos monitor health

New smart tattoos monitor health

Feeling dehydrated or need to check your blood sugar levels? Just take a quick look at that tattoo on your arm.

Medicine has successfully paired with body art thanks to Researchers at Harvard and MIT. Reported on Thursday, newly developed smart tattoo ink is capable of monitoring health simply by changing color.

Current wearable monitoring devices have some limitations. They can take up a lot of room, generally require batteries, and are separate from the body. This new color-changing tattoo ink is integrated with the body and is a step in a new direction away from the traditional technology for wearable monitoring devices.

“We were thinking: New technologies, what is the next generation after wearables?” said Ali Yetisen of Harvard Medical School, as reported in the Harvard Gazette. “And so we came up with the idea that we could incorporate biosensors in the skin. We wanted to go beyond what is available through wearables today.”

How does it work? Currently, the tattoo ink changes from green to brown as glucose concentration increases, which is good news for anyone that needs to keep that under control. There’s also a green ink that changes depending on the concentration of sodium within the body, an application that will help monitor dehydration.

The applications for this new ink are endless. Whether people are considering long-lasting or temporary tattoos, the technology should work the same.

“Yetisen has already developed an app that can analyze a picture of a sensor and provide quantitative diagnostic results,” reports Harvard staff writer, Alvin Powell. “While patients are an obvious potential market, Yetisen said the technology could be used in astronauts, for whom continuous health monitoring is desirable.”

The project is still incomplete and has many obstacles to pass before it’s ready. Some factors still need to be considered — like the stabilization of the designs so that the ink doesn’t fade. There’s also the consideration of ethical issues.

Despite all of this, the thought of seeing what this smart tattoo ink can do for our bodies is a pretty intriguing idea that’s sure to turn a few heads. Well, what do you think? Would you get a tattoo with the smart ink technology?