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February 18, 2009

Nano Ink Tattoo Monitors Diabetes

Asking your parents or finding some positive reason behind getting a tattoo has finally come to save your life… literally. Draper Laboratories of Massachusetts is developing a tattoo ink which changes color based on your glucose levels within your skin which can eliminate the use of painful blood glucose test for diabetics.

“It doesn’t have to be a large, over-the-shoulder kind of tattoo,” said Heather Clark, a scientist at Draper. “It would only have to be a few millimeters in size and wouldn’t have to go as deep as a normal tattoo.”

The nano ink particles are tiny, squishy spheres about 120 nanometers across. Inside the sphere are three parts: the glucose detecting molecule, a color-changing dye, and another molecule that mimics glucose. When the particles are dissolved in water they look like food coloring, says Clark.

The three parts continuously move around the inside the hydrophobic orb. When they approach the surface, the glucose detecting molecule either grabs a molecule of glucose or the mimicking molecule.

“If the molecules mostly latch onto glucose, the ink appears yellow. If glucose levels are low, the molecule latches onto the glucose mimic, turning the ink purple. A healthy level of glucose has a ‘funny orangey,’ color,” according to Clark. The sampling process repeats itself every few milliseconds.

Clark estimates that it will be at least two years before the necessary human testing is complete to bring the ink to the market.

Via Discovery News

posted by: Limité Staff
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