Researchers from MIT’s Media Lab have developed a tattoo ink that changes colour according to varying glucose and pH levels inside the body.

The DermalAbyss project is the result of a collaboration between Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students Katia Vega, Xin Liu, Viirj Kan and Nick Barry and Harvard Medical School students Ali Yetisen and Nan Jian.

Hoping to turn the body into an “interactive display”, they developed a method for replacing tattoo inks with biosensors – liquids that change colour in response to alterations in 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.”

While currently in its testing phase – in which the group injected the liquid into pig skin – they believe in the future it could be used as a medical tool.

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