Dermal Tattoo Biosensors for Colorimetric Metabolite Detection
Tattoos that change colour in response to biomarker levels in the skin promise to provide an easy and inexpensive way to monitor health.
Tattoos are created by injecting ink in the dermis, an approximately millimetre thick layer of skin that lies beneath the outer layer of skin. Many metabolites from blood enter this layer of skin by leaking out of arteries.
By replacing ink with chemical sensors, a team of researchers at the Technical University of Munich has developed tattoos that can monitor biomarker levels in the skin.
They demonstrated the power of their approach by using three colorimetric chemical sensors to monitor blood pH and levels of glucose and albumin in pig skin. They used a smartphone app to monitor the changes in colour.
As well as being cheap and easy, the tattoos have the advantage of enabling continuous monitoring of a person’s health metrics.
- Angewandte Chemie International Edition 5, 10506–10513 (2019). doi: 10.1002/anie.201904416