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SIGNE DEAN  13 JUN 2017

Researchers have developed a new colour-changing tattoo ink that responds to changes in the body, such as blood sugar and sodium levels.

Using a liquid with biosensors instead of traditional ink, scientists want to turn the surface of the human skin into an "interactive display" - an idea that makes this proof-of-concept an exciting one to watch. Technology like this could become a revolutionary new way to monitor health.

The project, called DermalAbyss, is a collaboration between researchers from MIT and Harvard Medical School, combining efforts from Fluid Interfaces and biotechnology.

So far, the team has developed three different inks that shift colour in response to changes in interstitial fluid - the stuff that sloshes around between our cells, comprising some 16 percent of the human body weight.

Of the three sensor inks, the most intriguing is the one that can measure glucose levels. The sensor changes its colour from blue to brown as blood sugar rises.

Having a glucose-sensing tattoo could conceivably make life easier to people with diabetes, who have to rely on pin-prick blood tests throughout the day to monitor their glucose.

The team has also created an ink that shifts from pink to purple in relation to pH levels, and a third sensor that can detect sodium, shining a vibrant green hue under UV light in the presence of rising salt levels.

Colour-changing ink sensorsXin LIU, Katia Vega

"The Dermal Abyss creates a direct access to the compartments in the body and reflects inner metabolic processes in a shape of a tattoo," the team writes on the project website.

"It could be used for applications in continuously monitoring such as medical diagnostics, quantified self, and data encoding in the body."

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International symposium on wearable computers? TLI in the mit article to determine if nanotech is in the ink. Blood brain barrier is useless when nanotech is involved. Yet another possibility for remote control of behavior? Who knows

The Dermal Abyss.....

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