MIT and Harvard researchers are developing a tattoo ink that could monitor what’s going on in your body at all times.
Could tattoos actually one day help us with our health? 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.
The project called “Dermal Abyss” involves developing a “smart” tattoo ink that would monitor your insides, as you can see from the video embedded at the bottom of this post. It would take the current fad of “wearables” – sensor devices like fitness trackers and smartwatches – to the next level by creating wearables implanted in the skin with ink that can change color based on the chemistry of the body changing.
It’s a concept that is still very much in its infancy, as the scientists face obstacles like the fact that surrounding tissue may not show what’s happening deeper in the body, and that it’s not quite stable enough to stand up to sweat, sun exposure, bathing, and all sorts of other things.
“The DermalAbyss project is the result of a collaboration between MIT researchers Katia Vega, Xin Liu, Viirj Kan and Nick Barry and Harvard Medical School researchers Ali Yetisen and Nan Jiang,” reads the MIT statement. “DermalAbyss is a proof-of-concept that 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 colors change in response to variations in the interstitial fluid. It blends advances in biotechnology with traditional methods in tattoo artistry. This is a research project, and there are currently no plans to develop Dermal Abyss as a product or to pursue clinical trials.”