Smart ink tatts for health

Sunday Mail - - NEWS - JANE HANSEN

WE have heard about the good oil, but how about the good ink? Har­vard and MIT re­searchers have turned body art into med­i­cal tech­nol­ogy by de­vel­op­ing tat­too ink ca­pa­ble of mon­i­tor­ing health.

The smart ink changes colour if the wearer is de­hy­drated or if blood sugars rise and fall in di­a­bet­ics.

The biosen­si­tive inks, de­vel­oped at Har­vard, have com­bined with tra­di­tional tat­too artistry as a way to over­come some of the lim­i­ta­tions of cur­rent bio­med­i­cal mon­i­tor­ing de­vices, which are bat­tery de­pen­dent.

“We were think­ing: New tech­nolo­gies, what is the next gen­er­a­tion af­ter wear­ables?” co-de­vel­oper Dr Ali Ye­tisen, of Har­vard, said. “We came up with the idea that we could in­cor­po­rate biosen­sors in the skin.” Cur­rent wear­able med­i­cal de­vices like fobs and wrist bands were not “seam­lessly in­te­grated with the body” Dr Ye­tisen said.

The “Der­mal Abyss” tat­too inks change colour ac­cord­ing to the chem­istry of the body’s in­ter­sti­tial fluid. Inks de­vel­oped so far change from green to brown as glu­cose con­cen­tra­tion in­creases.

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