When tattoos were first seen in the world they had a different meaning than they do today. The first people to have tattoos were the Native Americans, who were showing the tribes they belonged to. Fast forward to early America, and tattoos were popular among sailors, prisoners, and biker gangs. In today’s society, people ages of 18 and up are getting tattoos as a form of self-expression, to mourn a loss, as a form of art, or for the pure adrenaline rush (to name a few). But what if tattoos could be more than just art on someone’s body? What if they could help people medically?
At MIT, Katia Vega, a scientist, who collaborated with Harvard Medical School to create biosensor inks that can measure shifts in interstitial fluid in your skin. This means through this new tattoo ink, your tattoo will change color if something in your body changes. If you get sick or have a disease, the ink will change if any levels in the body change. Vega and the Harvard Medical School have created a type of ink that has the ability to detect certain medical illnesses and changes in glucose levels, sodium levels and ph levels in your body. This new technology will not only change the way we look at tattoos, but it can also lower medical costs for some.
For those who are diabetic, the cost of medications; insulin, pumps, and meters to check glucose/ sugar levels adds up! With the new technology that Vega and the Harvard Medical School created, it is possible for diabetics to check sugar levels without the trouble of pricking their finger multiple times a day and carrying a meter. With biosensor tattoos, diabetics are told when their glucose levels change through the change in color of the tattoo. The tattoo will change between blue and brown, indicating that your levels are changing (a doctor or tattoo artist will notify you what the colors stand for).
This technology is not just exclusive to those with diabetes. Every day doctors can use this new technology as well. Doctors always say is to drink plenty of water daily, but how do we know if we are hydrated or dehydrated? With a sodium biosensor tattoo, your tattoo will glow under a UV light. When it glows it will inform the wearer of the amount of water in their body (dehydrated/ overhydrated). This biosensor can help a majority of people in the world stay hydrated or know when they are dehydrated.
Finally, for those of you who like to track your bio-data, the ph biosensor ink measures your PH levels, which indicate your general health and the changes inside your body. This a new way for people to track their illness or go to a doctor sooner rather than later (ask your doctor/ tattoo artist what each color means when it changes so you can understand what is happening to you).
Things are constantly changing, evolving, and moving forward. It was only a matter of time before tattoos joined the evolution. What was once a symbol of Native American tribes, now has the ability to identify medical health conditions. Ask your local doctor/ tattoo artist if they offer this new tattoo ink! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us here at Stories of the Ink!