Diabetes Detection Tattoo Invented

At the University of California, San Diego, researchers have been working to develop a temporary tattoo that is capable of detecting glucose levels without the need for pricking the fingers. The gadget is one of the latest attempts at making diabetes care less invasive and painful for patients.


The device was invented by Amay Bandodkar, a graduate student in UC’s Nano Engineering Department and Center for Wearable Sensors. It is made up of electrodes that have been printed on a rub-on tattoo paper. The sensor allows for the blood glucose levels of the patient to be measured without the requirement of blood. Instead, it can detect the levels of glucose in the fluid that is in-between the skin cells by applying a small electrical charge to the area of the skin for roughly 10 minutes. The charge makes sodium ions flow toward the tattoo. These sodium ions can carry glucose which allows the sensor to measure the electrical charge as produced from the glucose.


The sensor was tested on seven people without diabetes and it was determined that the results from the temporary tattoo matched the results taken by a traditional blood glucose monitor. Researchers hope to be able to use this device to aid Type 2 diabetes patients. So far some additional changes will need to be made in order to allow the device to output a numerical report that would be easier for patients to work with.


The researchers also think that the device could be used to treat kidney disease or the physiological changes of athletes.

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