Technology for Independent Living

Tattoos for Health

Scientists have developed a way to tattoo the skin with a fluid that changes color as certain properties in the blood spike or decline. The different dyes in the fluid react with elements in a person’s metabolic system. The tattoos change colors as the concentrations of pH, glucose, and albumin shifted. Then they developed an app that detected the color of the tattoo and give a reading on what the possible health concerns are. This could become a low cost way to offer a consistent system to track health. For diabetics, the glucose-detecting ink shifts fro light green to dark green as concentrations of glucose increase. For Chron’s or celiac disease, it can monitor low albumin levels as a yellow dye shifts to green. A shift from yellow dye to blue a person would know the acidity in their blood is too high. Although still being tested, this could become an easy way for a person to monitor longstanding health concerns. Perhaps it will blur the line between medical offices and tattoo parlors one day!

Regaining Hand Mobility

Earlier this month, researchers from University of Washington reported that they’d restored some hand function in six people using an electrical current delivered through patches on their necks. For many with paralysis, the difference between being able to pinch with your thumb and not being able to is hard to understand. That ability would unlock a whole new level of independence. By delivering an electric current to the spinal cord while doing rehab allows patients to accomplish activities they couldn’t achieve with training alone. This turns up the volume, boosting the brain’s signals to move the hand. By using high frequencies they can deliver the current without noticeable pain. There is still more work to do, as scientists don’t understand how these signals transfer information.