Engineers at the University of California, San Diego, developed a smart ink that becomes a functional sensor when drawn on the body or other objects, essentially creating a wearable that’s more body art than machine.
The researchers filled off-the-shelf ballpoint pens with high-tech bio-inks that react with various chemicals. The ink then acts as a sensor that is able to determine blood glucose levels when on humans or the amount of pollution on plants.
Right now the prototype can measure glucose and pollution levels, and that’s a good start. There are already wearables that can allegedly track the amount of calories taken in by measuring your glucose levels, and the potential for wearable ink seems endless. The researchers foresee it being used by physicians, consumers who want to health data, and the military.
Currently this ink is in the research stage, but the engineers do have a track record for getting word out about their innovations. The same team of the engineers are behind the temporary tattoos that can also detect blood glucose levels, which made rounds on popular medical technology and science websites earlier this year.