Color-changing tattoo shows blood glucose level

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What a fantastic idea. If this works it would be especially amazing for kids with diabetes.


Interesting. I wonder about the obvious things: How accurate is it? How does the response change over time / does it need a refresh after months, years?

But assuming all of that is solvable, this is flippin’ awesome!


I’m not at all a fan of tatoos (for me; your skin is yours to decorate) but had I the least tendency to diabetes I would be treating this as a development on par with prosthetic knees.

Speaking as an emergency medic, though, I would love to see a recommended location for these before they get too far, preferably somewhere relatively unpigmented. When I see someone who might be either hypo- or hyper-glycemic, searching for the implant vs. checking the inner wrist or whatever is enough to just have me grab the glucometer.


Just try to make sure they choose a design that will age well.

My nine year old is pointing out to me tattoos she thinks are awesome so I already have to start laying the “if and when” groundwork.


Be glad that the newer inks are much easier to remove than the old ones that I grew up with. I knew a lot of WWII vets who had come home and married women who were, to understate it, not amused by their husbands’ skin “art.”


I’m on the fence with this one.

On the one hand, this is a cool innovation with the potential to help millions of people.

On the other hand, you’re restricted to a “colors of mold” palette.


I was thinking of them in terms of self-monitoring, but you make a good point.
I don’t need one, but if I did I’d want a nearby labeled tattoo of regular ink for a legend. I bet one could come up with some pretty cool designs.


This looks a lot like the MIT DermalAbyss project (which made the news in 2017 and hasn’t put out any updates or seemed to make progress since then).

Seems like these projects get cool results with ex vivo pig skin, but may not end up being easy to get from there to actual humans with health issues. I’m guessing questions about how the ink degrades over time in living skin loom large.

As for the tattoo judgment that inevitably shows up on articles about ink, given the function of this particular application, I for one would be willing to overlook some pretty heinous fashion if it ever became a reality.


I’m afraid my daughter would use this to match her tattoo with the color of her dress…:unamused:



Bit of a tradeoff there. “Findable” is not really a problem for self-care but in an emerrgency? Of course if you wanted to have it conspicuous not so much.

Being a McKillip fan, three stars at the forehead hairline comes to mind …

I don’t care for using tattoos artistically on myself, but if we had more in the way of functional tattoos like these, I’d be very inclined to get them.

I’ve been mulling getting a ruler on one of my arms. But the skin stretching around may make that less pointful.


A very cool idea. Of course, to be a practical replacement for testing or continuous glucose monitoring, it would need much finer calibration. And in that case, you’d also need a nonchanging reference tattoo.


How about diabetics with dark skin? You would have to do something to de-pigment an area and then do this tattoo in that area?


I need one of these that indicates caffeine level like a battery charge indicator.

(Not for MY health and safety of course, but for the health and safety of those around me.)


I’ve had one on my inside forearm for…well let’s just say before that Len song. I stylized it to look like an blueprint scale (got it after architecture school), so it’s 3 inch-long block patterns made of 1/8”. 1/4”. 1/2” sections. So not super obvious it’s a ruler, but i’ve used it countless times building furniture or at the hardware store to distinguish an 1-1/2” screw from an 1-5/8” one. Still accurate.


I have a tattoo that turns black when my blood alcohol level is dangerously low.

I know it’s working because it’s always black.


there’s a real reason to get a tat.

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This could be the tattoo.