Researchers Developed Tattoo That Changes Colour In Response To Blood Glucose Levels


By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory

CORRECTION: 27-11-2019 The article was updated to include more information about the type of diabetes that is mentioned in the article. We added that the article is mentioning type 2 diabetes instead of just diabetes in general.

Type 2 Diabetes – is one of the major killers of human society. Maybe because of the rise of processed food or because sugary stuff just tastes better, diabetes is on the rise. Unlike cancer, type 2 diabetes is slow and can be controlled. It is more of a malfunction of certain body mechanisms. We can’t deny that we don’t play a part in it. Our poor diet and sedentary lifestyle are the reasons why diabetes continues to rise. Statistically, around 10% of the US population has some kind of diabetes. 


What is type 2 diabetes? Well, our body requires energy and sugar is the way to get it. That’s why we crave for sugary products. However, sometimes, there can be a problem with the insulin-production of our body. Insulin helps to process the sugar and convert it into usable energy. Hence, when there are insulin problems, it means the sugar level in our blood starts to rise. On top of that, if it is left unchecked, it can result in serious problems, even with other organs.


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However, type 2 diabetes can be managed if it is detected early on. If you check your blood sugar level and find it too high or too low, you can easily bring about a change in your lifestyle. The finger prick device is one of the common household products used for checking your blood sugar level .


But now MIT has brought something different and stylish too. MIT researchers are trying to develop a color-changing tattoo that can act as a biomarker to detect changes in the blood sugar level. It has been referred to as the DermalAbyss project where the common tattoo ink is being replaced by four biosensors that can detect changes and respond to such changes in our body fluids. This tattoo will change from purple to pink marking the pH level changes. The glucose sensor will change from blue to brown recording the blood glucose level changes. The two other biosensors detect the Sodium level and the second pH level which changes under high-intensity UV light.

Since people with type 2 diabetes have to keep a check on their changing blood glucose levels, this color-changing tattoo can be a perfect solution. They have to invest one time on this color-changing tattoo and they won’t have to buy strips or devices again and again. Even a study shows that this method can be effective enough. 

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Also read: These 15+ Seniors Are Proof That Tattoos Look Badass Later in Life

The product is being tested now on pigskin. It is being tested for its efficacy. While it is not yet suited for testing on human beings, it might come out soon enough. Here is a video on this product:


DermalAbyss: Possibilities of Biosensors as a Tattooed Interface from Fluid Interfaces on Vimeo.

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