Smart Tattoos that can Monitor Your Health too

Did anyone give a thought to this idea? People these days have been obsessed with tattoos and possibly trying to find the most parts of their bodies inked. What if you can make smart tattoos? Does that do more than just make a beautiful impression on your skin? Today, a tattoo can say so much, and thanks to a group of researchers from Harvard Medical School, you can even tell your health. This is something, two postdoctoral fellows from Harvard, Ali Yester and Nan Jiang did. They had been working at MIT Media Lab, and found a way to create something called ?Dermal Abyss?.

The Dermal Abyss Project

This is not a medical condition of your skin you should be worried about it. It is the name of the project aiming to develop a smart tattoo ink that can help monitor what is going on inside your body. These are more than just wearables because unlike fitness trackers on smartwatches, they return medical conditions like change in ion levels, ph levels and so on.

The ?tattoo-able? ink contains special chemicals that when injected into the skin can change their colors when there is a change in the chemistry of the body tissue surrounding it. This could mean a diagnosis might be required. These can be designed to show varying levels of sodium, glucose, acidity and more. But, skeptics have pointed out some flaws in this method.

Additionally, while wearables are easily removable, these tattoos are not, so their implementation is sure to meet with skepticism if the sole reason you are getting one is for medical monitoring. However, using these smart tattoo inks is not a bad thing too because if you are indeed getting a tattoo, maybe try the smart ink as well. If not trusting the change in colors strictly, at least you will have something cool on your arm that just regular ink that does nothing after all. It must, of course, be understood that they are for personal monitoring, and not actual lab test replacements prescribed by your doctor.


  • The change in the surrounding tissue does not always represent the actual changes in the blood.
  • This may not give/indicate the actual change in the sodium or glucose levels in the blood, some argue.
  • Also, tattoos colors can be more difficult to read too as they change also with age.
  • There are factors like sweat, sun, exposure to bathing chemicals, alcohol, food, and other things that can cause these alterations in color too.
  • The ink is not stable in a way to inform the medical factors.


  • A great and innovative way of next-gen wearables.
  • Can make tattoos do more than just sit on your skin.

Medical Monitoring

To be able to monitor your health with wearables and get a heads up on something imbalance is going on inside your body is always helpful. In that sense, you can go and have a check-up and find out if anything is wrong.