Temporary Tattoo-Based Glucose Monitoring

UCSD researchers develop a wearable that painlessly detects dangerous blood sugar levels


Living with diabetes comes with a plethora of difficulties, and drawing blood to test glucose levels every day is certainly not the least of them. Fortunately, nanoengineers at UC San Diego are paving the way toward the painful technique’s obsolescence, with a new wearable tech that can monitor blood sugar levels without breaking the skin. Developed by graduate student Amay Bandodkar, the device uses small electrodes printed on flexible temporary tattoo paper that painlessly detects glucose spikes by measuring the strength of an electric charge produced by the glucose. Each sticker lasts a full day, giving it the capacity to become a low-cost replacement for the traditional needle test strip.


Though it doesn’t currently provide a numerical readout like current monitoring devices, tests have concluded that the temporary tattoo can reliably detect and report dangerous sugar levels. In addition, future development will not only provide these necessary readouts, but will also potentially equip the device with Bluetooth capabilities that can directly send data from the sticker to a cloud-based storage app. Researchers also hope that pain-free testing will prompt diabetics to perform more regular monitoring, thus avoiding further complications caused by the disease—such as blindness and irreversible nerve damage.

Found via PSFK.

Images courtesy of UC San Diego