Diabetes technology as body art
As reported by Alvin Powell, Harvard Staff
Writer writing for the Harvard Gazette,
researchers at Harvard are aiming beyond
wearable medical technology with a
project that combines art with medicine.
You may have heard of these before,
we reported on the concept yonks ago,
in June 2011 no less, but there's been
progress. Harvard and MIT researchers
have developed smart tattoo ink capable
of monitoring health by changing colour
to tell an athlete if they are dehydrated,
or a diabetic if their blood sugar is rising.
The work, conducted by two postdoctoral
fellows at Harvard Medical School and
colleagues led by Katia Vega at MIT's
Media Lab, paired biosensitive inks
developed at Harvard with traditional
tattoo artistry as a way to overcome some
of the limitations of current biomedical
Ali Yetisen, a Tosteson postdoctoral
fellow at HMS and Massachusetts General
Hospital, says of the research, "We were
thinking: New technologies, what is the
next generation after wearables? And so
we came up with the idea that we could
incorporate biosensors in the skin. We
wanted to go beyond what is available
through wearables today. "
The project, nick-named 'Dermal
Abyss', was conducted as a proof of
concept, and that further refinements -
stabilizing ink so designs don't fade or
diffuse into surrounding tissue - would
be needed for a medical product.
Smart tattoo ink changes color to monitor dehydration and
blood sugar.Click the images to see a video about the product.