Experiments on a new flexible sensor that acts like a temporary tattoo has provided remarkable proof that it can detect a person’s blood glucose levels. This could definitely make life easier for diabetes patients.

Researcher Amay Bandokar rom University of California, San Diego, who lead the study, describes “The concentration of glucose extracted by the non-invasive tattoo device is almost hundred times lower than the corresponding level in the human blood. Thus we had to develop highly sensitive glucose sensor that could detect such low levels of glucose with high selectivity.”

The researcher describe “The sensor represents the first example of an easy-to-wear flexible tattoo-based epidermal diagnostic device combining reverse iontophoretic extraction of interstitial glucose and an enzyme-based amperometric biosensor.”

Credit: Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego

He goes on to describe the plans for future development of this device.

“The readout instrument for patients will eventually have Bluetooth capabilities to send this information directly to the patient’s doctor in real-time or store data in the cloud,” reported Indian graduate student Amay Bandodkar. He was part of the UCSD team responsible for this breakthrough. He continues, “Presently, the tattoo sensor can easily survive for a day. These are extremely inexpensive—a few cents—and hence can be replaced without much financial burden on the patient.”

Bandodkar goes on to explain, “Carbohydrate-rich diets and the related insulin spike is one of the major reasons for several of the modern lifestyle diseases faced by humans, especially in developed countries like the USA.” He describes that a noninvasive glucose monitor could be attractive to a wide range of people who suffer from Type 2 diabetes.

The researchers conclude “The new tattoo-based iontophoretic-biosensing platrofm could readily be expanded towards the noninvasive monitoring of other chemical markers present in interstitial fluid and potentially for transcutaneous drug delivery.”