Tattoos Changing Lives :: Color Changing Ink

CGI of color changing tattoo. Credit: DermaAbyss

CGI of color changing tattoo. Credit: DermaAbyss


Tattoos Changing Lives

Can a tattoo save a life?


When biosensor tattoos first hit the news headlines a few years ago, I was really excited by the potential of this new technology, but recognized there was a long way to go before they could be truly useful or practical. It was a small step towards the day that tattoos could go from merely aesthetic choice to a tool for wellbeing. Well my friends, that day has finally arrived.

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In 2017, MIT debuted the concept of biosensor tattoo ink with their project Dermal Abyss. The idea was if you could create ink that responds to changes in certain biometrics, like glucose or sodium levels, you could use that ink on people who would benefit from real-time biometric monitoring - no devices or blood tests required. As someone with a family history chock full of Type-II diabetes, I know that the cost-savings alone from no longer having to buy needles or strips would make these tattoos worth it! Alas, it was only a concept that still needed further development. Well now, scientists in Germany have made these tattoos a reality. While the inks still need to undergo human testing, they have successfully created tattoos in pig skin (sorry Vegans) that change color based on glucose, albumin, and pH levels in the body. Designs have ranged from simple geometric test patterns to standard flash you’d find in any street shop. This opens the door for new medical tattooing techniques that can truly make a difference in people’s lives. Imagine not having to interrupt your day, or not having to practically announce to the whole room your medical status, simply to test your levels. Pretty soon you’ll be able to simply look down!

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By Sara vodak

IG: @vodak_yellow

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