Skip to Content

How About a Tattoo That Tells You Your Vitals?

September 29, 2017

That’s what new smart inks developed to detect dehydration or blood sugar levels could provide. Researchers from Harvard and MIT have developed two inks that change color depending on body chemistry. One turns from green to brown as glucose levels rise, while another gets more green (sadly only under blue light) in the presence of increasing sodium concentration (which is a proxy for dehydration). The team, which presented its research at the International Symposium on Wearable Computers earlier this month, has shown that tattoos drawn on pig skin using the inks work as they describe. It also suggests that in the future the tattoos could be used to provide wearable displays on human skin.

Deep Dive


Our best illustrations of 2022

Our artists’ thought-provoking, playful creations bring our stories to life, often saying more with an image than words ever could.

How CRISPR is making farmed animals bigger, stronger, and healthier

These gene-edited fish, pigs, and other animals could soon be on the menu.

The Download: the Saudi sci-fi megacity, and sleeping babies’ brains

This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology. These exclusive satellite images show Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway In early 2021, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia announced The Line: a “civilizational revolution” that would house up…

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.