The people with diabetes have to prick their fingers daily in order to determine blood sugar levels. However, the scientists from Harvard and MIT have been working to find an easier way by inventing the so-called a “biosensing” tattoo that aims to help people living with types 1 or 2 diabetes.
The ink in this tattoo has color-changing biosensors that react to changes in the blood and cell tissues.
According to the team of researchers from Harvard and MIT current diabetics need to monitor their glucose levels by piercing the skin 3 to 10 times per day. They tried to replace this painful procedure with a tattoo. By using this method, the user could monitor the color changes and the need for insulin.
The focus of this research is on four different biosensors that react to three different pieces of biochemical information found in the interstitial fluid. The acidity (pH) of the fluid changes depending on the glucose (sugar) and the sodium level.
Tattoos in Action
If you are curious to see how the biosensing tattoos work, here is a cool video, which helps to explain the concept:
Currently For Research Only
According to the website at the moment, DermalAbyss is just a research project and there are currently no plans to develop it as a product or to pursue clinical trials.
The tattoos have been tested on the pigskin, which is similar to the human dermis, showing positive results that the tattoo actually worked.
For the time being, we have to stick with the traditional finger-prick method for checking blood sugar.
However, one researcher created a thin electronic mesh that stretches with skin and can monitor things like hydration and temperature.
MIT’s Media Lab created tattoos that are able to do some things, for example turning up music on a remote device or displaying the emotion of the wearer.
There is some good news for people with diabetes, as the researchers discovered that taking a hot bath can help them to regulate blood sugar and inflammation.
So, instead of pricking a finger to test blood sugar levels you may be taking a hot bath or getting a tattoo—who knew, maybe these things would both be able to help diabetics?