Wow. Are we now actually living in the future!?
Imagine having a tattoo that changes colour to show your blood sugar levels? Well this isn’t something from a sci fi movie, because it really exists! And it’s not just blood sugar that can be shown with the tattoo’s, they can also show the pH levels (ie how acid or alkaline you are) and also sodium levels, with register your levels of salt.
Perfect for diabetics
The prototype tattoo’s are a proof of concept developed by Dermal Abyss, which is a collaboration between MIT and Harvard Medical School.
Traditional inks are replaced with biosensors which change colour in response to variations in the fluid they are contained in, with a view to being able to constantly monitor medical diagnostics. On the MIT website they explain how it could
"Currently, during daily activities and alimentary habits, 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, of which the colour from pink to purple based on the glucose levels. Thus, the user could monitor the colour changes and the need of insulin."
So without a doubt this could be a fantastic help for diabetics and maybe even used further down the line to be able to monitor blood sugar levels in such a way that it coulee prevent diabetes in the first place?
Their initial tests have been done using pig skin and this is still currently a research project, so you can’t pop down to your local tattoo parlour and get one done just yet. However, it just goes to show how much technology will soon affect our health.
There are still a lot of testing and research and development stages to go through before this is publicly available, but if the basic principle works then I can't see it being too long before it becomes a reality, especially as so many people are now getting involved with monitoring their health and well being.
More from the MIT Medial Lab website:
"Yet the path from proof-of-concept to a functional prototype— from animal testing, to clinical trials and commercial product, to regulatory approval—requires many phases of development. Each successive R&D phase is followed by new sets of challenges and research questions that require different resources, collaborations, and clinical data.
The duration from one phase to another varies across research questions, expertise, funding, and the nature of the domain."
It seems like only yesterday that it was novel to be able to check your heart rate on your wrist, now with Fitbit’s and Apple Watches everywhere, this is just the start of a whole new era of health monitoring. We really are living in the future…