Creating Diabetes Tattoos That Sense Changes in Blood Sugar
It’s not often that the words “cool” and “diabetes” get used in the same sentence, but researchers at MIT and Harvard have joined the two concepts with an idea for creating tattoos that change color based on the blood sugar level of the person wearing them.
The project has the oddly dystopian name of the Dermal Abyss (or, as they call it d-abyss) and is a collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab and Harvard Medical School, according to Katia Vega, a post doctoral associate at MIT and a member of the team.
“The Dermal Abyss is a proof-of-concept that illustrates the potential of culturally and medically integrated biosensors,” Vega says. “They are biosensor tattoos that visibly react to changes in the metabolism. The purpose of the work is to light the imagination of biotechnologists and stimulate public support for such efforts.”
The tattoos they designed will not be showing up in a pharmacy or tattoo shop any time soon. “The purpose of the work is to highlight a novel possibility for biosensors rather than bring a medical device to market,” Vega says. “As such, there are currently no plans to develop the Dermal Abyss as a product or to pursue clinical trials.”
Like a hot concept car, there is real technology in the tattoos that were produced for the project. Various iterations of the tattoos sense changes not only in glucose but in pH, which can indicate dehydration and changes in sodium ion, which can give indications of hypertension.
For glucose, the colors change from a light blue at a reading of five, and go th Continue reading