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Researchers Develop Color-Changing Tattoo Ink That Monitors Your Health


Researchers from MIT’s Media Lab has successfully created a tattoo ink that can change its color in real time and respond to the varying glucose and pH levels inside the body. The invention is part of the DermalAbyss project and comes as the result of a collaboration between Harvard Medical School students Ali Yetisen and Nan Jian and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students Katia Vega, Viirj Kan, Xin Liu, and Nick Barry.


The tattoo turns the body into an “interactive display” as its ink uses biosensors and a liquid that changes color with changes in the contents of the bloodstream.

“We developed four biosensors, reacting to three pieces of biochemical information in body fluid and changing colours,” said the group.

“The pH sensor changes between purple and pink, the glucose sensor shifts between blue and brown; the sodium and a second pH sensor fluoresce at a higher intensity under UV light.”


The tattoo is currently in its testing phase and was tested on a pig’s skin with success. The group hopes that it can turn into a medical tool and relieve patients suffering from diabetes from pin pricking their fingers every day.

“In the same way that the wearables industry is integrating fashion practices into its development, we envisage participation between the biotech industries and skincare professionals, such as prosthesis experts and tattooists, in order to embrace the idea of human device symbiosis,” they said.

You can learn more about this amazing technology in the video below:


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