Ours is the generation of wearables.
With smart bands and fitness apps on the rise, every health nut has some gadget to track their health. But all these gadgets have their limits. Either the battery runs out, or you forget your device somewhere, or the manual is too confusing and you just don’t what the readings mean. If this sounds like you, then science has got an interesting solution for you – Dermal Abyss.
A project by researchers from Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Dermal Abyss replaces traditional tattoo ink with biosensors that change colour based on the variations in the interstitial fluids of the skin. The tattoo would effectively monitor fluctuating health conditions and change colour when there is a significant change in the value.
Unlike Tech Tats, a medical tattoo which integrates electrical components onto the skin and requires a power source, the Dermal Abyss tattoos are designed to change colour based on the levels of a biomarker. For example, one particular green ink will change to brown when the body’s glucose level is high. Another green ink will become dark when exposed to UV light, to indicate dehydration.
The project highlights the current limitations that future researchers need to address which includes expanding the range of colour, assessing the safety of the biosensors and the sensor’s biocompatibility.
Although still a concept, if the Dermal Abyss project is perfected, it will be a huge relief for those looking to replace traditional methods of health monitoring like diabetes which requires pricking the finger and drawing blood. The research promises to help monitor health conditions without the need for a bulky gadget.
But all this technology raises an important concern of privacy. How many of us would like to have a tattoo that announces the status of our health to the whole world?