Devices like smartwatches, fitness trackers, and heart rate chest straps are designed to collect biometric data on the user, like their heart rate, distance traveled, calories burnt, and so on. However the problem with current wearables is that they need to be worn 24/7 if you want to monitor your vitals all the time, and given that battery life isn’t infinite, it isn’t ideal just yet.

However that might be a problem that researchers at Harvard could have solved as they have developed a smart tattoo that stays on the wearer’s body and can also offer up similar tracking features. This is done through the use of ink that can react to the composition of your interstitial fluid, so for example if the person is dehydrated or if their glucose levels go up, the ink will change color or grow in intensity.

This will come in handy for people like athletes who need to keep track of their body’s vitals, or diabetics who need to know if they might have consumed too much sugar. The researchers have also suggested that the ink could be invisible for those who don’t want everyone to know what’s going on in their bodies, and can only be read under certain types of light.

According to Ali Yetisen, one of the researchers involved, one potential use for these sensors could be for astronauts who will need constant health monitoring. Another researcher Nan Jiang adds, “The purpose of the work is to light the imagination of biotechnologists and stimulate public support for such efforts. These questions of how technology impacts our lives must be considered as carefully as the design of the molecular sensors patients may someday carry embedded in their skin.”

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