Scientists have developed colour- changing tattoos that transform in response to changes in the body fluids and could help diabetes patients monitor blood sugar levels without pricking themselves multiple times a day. DermalAbyss, developed by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard Medical School in the US, presents a novel approach to bio- interfaces in which the body surface is rendered an interactive display. Traditional tattoo inks are replaced with biosensors whose colours change in response to variations in the body fluids. Currently, diabetics need to monitor their glucose levels by piercing the skin, three to 10 times per day. “With DermalAbyss, 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,” researchers said. “Thus, the user could monitor the colour changes and the need of insulin,” they added.”We investigated four biosensors, reacting to three pieces of biochemical information in body fluid and changes colours,” researchers said “The pH sensor changes between purple and pink, the glucose sensor shifts between blue and brown; the sodium and a second pH sensor fluoresce at a higher intensity under UV light,” they said.
The Dermal Abyss creates a direct access to the compartments in the body and reflects inner metabolic processes in a shape of a tattoo. It could be used for applications in continuously monitoring such as medical diagnostics.