Harvard develops blood glucose monitoring tattoo

Harvard develops blood glucose monitoring tattoo

That's what scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard are claiming, saying that tattoos could be used to monitor your blood sugar, or even tell you about your personality. They tested the proof-of-concept on segments of pig skin. Several injections in the skin were done in order to understand the visibility and functionality of the biosensors.

Named "Dermal Abyss", the device works by reading and picking up biomarkers from the body's interstitial fluid, which is a thin layer of fluid surroundings the cells.

Harvard Medical School postdoctoral fellow Nan Jiang-who also works with Brigham and Women's hospital-said: "The objective of the work is to light the imagination of biotechnologists and stimulate public support for such efforts".

It is mainly paired with biosensitive inks which are developed at Harvard with traditional tattoo artistry to surpass the requirement of any external power and wireless connection - the two major factors that are limiting the wearables available nowadays.

This new health monitoring "system" is being developed as part of the Dermal Abyss project. Inks include ones that change from green to brown in response to an increasing blood sugar level and a green ink that becomes more intense as sodium levels increase, which is an indicator of dehydration.

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It is being developed by Harvard scientists, which created a biosensitive ink.

Yetisen goes on to say, "We wanted to go beyond what is available through wearables today". The project was proved the concept can work, but further development needs to be done to stabilize the ink preventing it from fading or diffusing into the body.

Those smart tattoos have the potential to replace wearable electronic biosensors and, once applied, would be less invasive than other monitors without the need to change out or charge batteries.

The team is also looking to add a degree of privacy by also working with invisible ink.

But the researchers did note that the ink could potentially be useful in a wide variety of applications - from monitoring chronic conditions, to creating temporary designs for shorter-duration monitoring. "These questions of how technology impacts our lives must be considered as carefully as the design of the molecular sensors patients may someday carry embedded in their skin".

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