Pricking the fingers with a spring loaded needles several times in a day to test blood glucose levels on an everyday basics can turn out to be a painful ritual for diabetes patients. Now, a team of researchers have developed a new tattoo which could extract and measure blood sugar levels and bid the painful ritual of pricking goodbye.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, this tattoo is nothing but a flexible patch which is quite easy to apply and is fairly inconspicuous- closely resembling the next generation wearable technology. This tattoo has also allowed the researchers to go a step further and explore the world of non-invasive diabetes monitoring techniques.
A team of nano engineers at University of California, San Diego carried out the invention of this new tattoo which consists of a small sensor and some patterned electrodes on a temporary tattoo paper which is about the thickness of a sticking tape. These sensors apparently contain enzymes that are sensitive to changes in the blood glucose level and manage to measure the concentration of sugar after the application of a mild electrical voltage to the skin which in turn, pulls fluid from the skin.
The researchers tested this new tattoo on seven subjects after they consumed large meals and found that the glucose levels observed from the tattoo matched that off a traditional finger monitor.
While this glucose sensor isn’t the first one among the non-invasive range, the earlier sensor- GlucoWatch had certain problems- it didn’t entirely eliminate the finger pricking, and many uses also reported skin irritation.
This new tattoo, however, uses much lower current than GlucoWatch and also doesn’t cause discomfort. While there’s still a lot of work to be done before this tattoo is available for use among diabetes patient, it is still a good start. The researchers also believe that they could optimize this tattoo such that it could send the blood glucose level information to the patient’s doctor in real time via Bluetooth.