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Tattoo can tell blood sugar level

Researchers have created a tattoo which could help diabetics monitor their blood sugar level.

The team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a biosensing tattoo ink, which changes colour depending on the amount of blood sugar present, turning from a blue to brown when glucose is present.

The tattoo ink works by reading the liquids surrounding the tissue cells and detecting the presence of glucose. The team have also developed ink which can detect the salt levels or pH levels of the body.

The pH testing ink turns from pink to purple as alkalinity increases whilst when high salt levels are present, the ink fluoresces under UV light, turning a bright green.

Writing about the project on a blog post on their website, the team shared: "The DermalAbyss project is the result of a collaboration between MIT researchers Katia Vega, Xin Liu, Viirj Kan and Nick Barry and Harvard Medical School researchers Ali Yetisen and Nan Jiang.

"DermalAbyss is a proof-of-concept that presents a novel approach to bio-interfaces in which the body surface is rendered an interactive display. Traditional tattoo inks are replaced with biosensors whose colors change in response to variations in the interstitial fluid. It blends advances in biotechnology with traditional methods in tattoo artistry ...

"Currently, during daily activities and alimentary habits, diabetics need to monitor their glucose levels by piercing the skin, 3 to 10 times per day. With Dermal Abyss, we imagine the future where the painful procedure is replaced with a tattoo, of which the color from pink to purple based on the glucose levels. Thus, the user could monitor the color changes and the need of insulin."

However, the research team currently don't have any plans to develop it as a product just yet.

They added: "This is a research project, and there are currently no plans to develop Dermal Abyss as a product or to pursue clinical trials."

It is not the first time researchers have developed technological advanced tattoos. Last year, scientists revealed a product called DuoSkin, a temporary tattoo which allows the user to control their smartphone or to transmit information to their device by touching their own skin.

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