Harvard and MIT researchers have developed smart tattoo ink capable of monitoring a wearer’s health.
The ink changes colour if a user is dehydrated or if a diabetic’s blood sugar rises, for example.
The researchers paired biosensitive inks with traditional tattoo artistry as a way to overcome the limitations of current biomedical monitoring devices.
Wearable monitoring devices don’t seamlessly integrate with the body, their short battery life is a concern, and the need for wireless connectivity can be problematic.
The new inks can be incorporated into long-lasting tattoos for chronic conditions or into temporary designs for shorter-duration monitoring.
Ink can also be invisible, or readable under only particular kinds of light. That light could come from something as ubiquitous as a smartphone, said the researchers.