Tattoos are now mostly everywhere, with more and more people joining the trend every year. A team of researchers from MIT decided to create something revolutionary and unique, so they obtained the first living tattoo produced with the help of a 3D printer. The tattoo contains special ink, which interacts with the environment and reacts to a series of stimuli.
The living tattoo reacts to external stimuli
The living tattoo is the first of its kind which can act according to its surroundings. What makes it special is the ink, which was put together with the help of genetically engineered cells. They have been modified so that they could react to a series of stimuli, and light up whenever they are affected.
The special properties of the cells do not end here. Probably the best thing about them is the fact that they can be 3D-printed. By arranging them into layers, researchers can form complex structures, and even produce entire devices made only of these cells and a mixture of several other substances.
The ink lights up whenever it interacts with substances
While testing the ink, they discovered it can be used for interactive wearable devices, so they came up with the idea for the living tattoo. First, they created a tree design, and then used the ink to print it at a high resolution. The design was printed on a transparent piece of material, and each branch of the tree contained different bacteria in the ink. Therefore, each branch could react to a different stimulus.
As a test, researchers applied the living tattoo on a volunteer’s hand, and then had it touch different substances and materials. Afterwards, they observed how each branch lit up for the corresponding substance. Also, they managed to engineer this ink to react only to certain signals.