We all know wearable technology. It’s like a little watch that lets you know your heart rate, sleep patterns, steps taken, and more.
But what if technology was on your skin? And what if it was fashionable too?
Dr Ali Yetisen, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London, said:
Tattoos may seem like a relatively recent fad, but humans have been decorating their bodies for thousands of years. Even people used tattoos for therapeutic purposes,” says Yetisen. Now, by replacing the traditional tattoo her ink with a special ink that acts as a sensor, the tattoo can say a lot about your health and still look cool.
Researchers have developed an ink that changes color when it comes in contact with certain compounds in the blood. Sensor inks can detect changes in glucose (a type of sugar that cells use as fuel), pH (a measure of blood acidity), and albumin. (a protein in the blood that is made in the liver). Scientists then tested these special inks by tattooing small pieces of pig skin, which closely resembled human skin, and soaking these pieces in liquids containing varying amounts of the compound. bottom.
Researchers were able to see the tattoo ink change color to reflect the liquid content floating on the skin. Taking pictures of the skin with a smartphone camera, they were able to use a special algorithm to measure the color change of the tattoo and correlate it with the amount of chemical compounds present in the body fluids.
Dyes that change color in response to changes in pH or glucose levels are widely known, especially in strips that doctors use for quick urine snapshot tests. However, by tattooing permanent pigments into the skin, levels of various compounds can be monitored in real time, eliminating the need for constant finger pricks and blood tests. Since tattoos can contain many colors, different sensor inks that monitor levels of different compounds can be tattooed together to monitor levels of multiple compounds simultaneously. This is very helpful, for example, for diabetics who need their blood sugar checked but are at high risk of acidosis (too much acid in their blood).
But how does a tattoo know what’s going on in your blood? When you get a tattoo, pigment is injected from the outer layer of skin into the dermis. This is an elastic tissue that acts as a kind of scaffold on which skin cells rest. Skin cells are bathed in a fluid that constantly exchanges nutrients and other substances with blood. This is how cells are nourished and shed waste products.This fluid that surrounds skin cells is in such close contact with our blood that its contents mirror the contents of our blood. For example, if your blood is rich in glucose, the fluid around your skin cells will also contain high levels of glucose. does not represent Sensor tattoo inks have the advantage of being in intimate contact with a fluid that closely mirrors blood content.
Another advantage of having these sensors tattooed is, of course, that the tattoo is permanent. By the way, this permanence arises from endless digestive problems. When the pigment particles are injected into the skin, they are quickly eaten up by the white blood cells that reside in the area. Eat and digest.
However, unlike bacteria, pigment particles cannot be broken down and digested, and white blood cells keep them inside unchanged. The pigment in the tattoo can go through the cycle of being eaten, released, and eaten by the white blood cells several times, all the while the tattoo’s appearance does not change.
The new dyes developed for these tattoos did not appear to be toxic to the skin, but to see if they could be targeted by the immune system as potential enemies, More research is needed. planning.
“The use of these tattoos is health monitoring and disease monitoring. For example, measuring electrolytes can help determine dehydration in athletes. Hormones can be measured for stress monitoring. Similarly, such tattoos can be used to determine kidney and liver function and toxicity within the body.
Dr Aoife Morrin, Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Sciences and Director of the National Center for Sensor Research at Dublin City University, said: Bringing this into the body would be a game changer. While not without challenges, the potential for better monitoring and managing our own health is enormous. ”