With all the negative connotations (i.e. waste of money, looks "dirty" on one's skin, a sin for the religious) on getting a tattoo, everybody and their mom still has had it atleast once. But what if I tell you that getting inked can be more practical than it has ever been?
A team of researchers from the MIT Media Labs and Harvard Medical School is currently developing a special ink called Dermal Abyss. This ink can replace normal tattoos into biosensors that changes color.
"Dermal Abyss is a proof-of-concept that presents a novel approach to bio-interfaces in which the body surface is rendered an interactive display. The Dermal Abyss creates a direct access to the compartments in the body and reflects inner metabolic processes in a shape of a tattoo," researchers wrote on their site
The ink has four biosensors that react to changes in the interstitial fluid or fluid that wraps tissue cells inside the body. The pH sensor changes between purple and pink, depending on alkalinity. The glucose sensor changes from brown to blue as the blood sugar increases or decreases. The sodium sensor and a second pH sensor fluoresces under UV light, particularly useful for the amount of water in your body, from light to dark green and from pink to blue, respectively.
Researchers believe that this would give new ways of monitoring the body without needing to compromise one's style. "The Dermal Abyss creates a direct access to the compartments in the body and reflects inner metabolic processes in a shape of a tattoo. It could be used for applications in continuously monitoring such as medical diagnostics, quantified self, and data encoding in the body".
So far, it's been tested ex vivo on pigs' skin. However, the researchers stated that they have no plans to develop the technology as a product or to conduct clinical trials- yet. Nonetheless, it would be cool (and useful) to have tattoo artists give you the option to choose between a normal tattoo or a biosensing one. Talk about taking care of your body with style!