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Tattoos That Can Monitor Your Health

Not everyone thinks that getting a tattoo is cool.  But a tattoo that can keep you healthy sounds pretty awesome.

Designed for diabetics, tattoos using a nanoparticle ink created by MIT researchers monitor the level of glucose in the bloodstream.

For diabetics (who make up about 2.8% of the population worldwide), continuously keeping an eye on their blood sugar level is important because they could miss the moment when their levels start to change, such as after eating.

Typically, diabetics need to prick their fingers several times a day in order to monitor blood sugar levels. This nanoparticle ink, however, is the first safe method that can monitor glucose levels throughout the day and over an extended period of time without any need to pierce the skin.

The ink was created by wrapping nanotubes in a glucose-sensitive polymer.  Once injected beneath the skin, the nano-ink fluoresces when exposed to glucose.  Individuals would wear a bracelet to provide near-infrared light to detect and analyze the fluorescing, presenting a simple readout of the blood sugar level (like a wristwatch).

Best of all, the nano-ink fades away after six months so the tattoo is not permanent! People would be able to choose a new design when they need to be re-injected.

Image: __april/Flickr

5 Responses to “Tattoos That Can Monitor Your Health”

  1. I’m a diabetic and very interested in this. What would be the cost? What size does the tattoo have to be?

    If you need anymore people for testing I would like to try it.

    Robert Woods

  2. According to MIT, the researchers are not yet ready to test this technology on humans, but they will soon begin animal trials.

  3. that’s really cool. I think that way of getting your glucose level would be way better then stabbing somthing into your finger each time.
    reall good idea.(:

  4. so whats the progress so far on this?

  5. Just wondering if you need a human test subject for clinical trials who is willing to be tested even outside of the U.S.

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