Color-changing tattoos being developed for monitoring health

/ 06:03 PM May 31, 2017

Image: Xin Liu/Katia Vega

People get tattoos for various reasons. Some do so to make a statement, some do it for tradition, while some do it for the sheer sake of art. But in the future, some people may be getting tattoos for medical reasons.

This is the vision that MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Media Lab researcher Katia Vega is chasing. Her current project, DermalAbyss, explores the possibilities of using color-changing tattoos to monitor a person’s bodily condition, reports Fast Co Design.


The idea is to have biosensor inks that can detect either levels of glucose, sodium, or pH in a person’s body. The tattoo will then change color accordingly.

Image: Xin Liu/Katia Vega

Vega hopes to apply the technology to the health care industry. For example, a diabetic can have a tattoo that changes color based on the level of glucose in their body. It can serve as an early warning system for when to do more concise tests to check blood sugar levels.

These special biosensor tattoos will also offer the means for a quick diagnosis of a patient.

While Vega continues her studies, other researchers are busy finding other ways to turn our skin into an interface. Maybe someday, we’ll be browsing the internet on the palms of our hands, literally. Alfred Bayle/JB


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TOPICS: biosensor, color-changing tattoo, DermalAbyss, skin interface, tattoo
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