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Biotech Iphone Medicine Apple

iPhones Can Read Tattoo Ink For Medical Info 55

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at Northeastern University have modified an iPhone to take readings from a special fluorescing nanoparticle tattoo ink, which can then measure sodium and glucose levels in the blood."
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iPhones Can Read Tattoo Ink For Medical Info

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  • ... people with diabetes glow?
    • by AC-x ( 735297 )

      Well, when they're tattooed with special fluorescing nanoparticle ink they do

  • Not Iphone (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 22, 2011 @09:14PM (#36853876)

    The Iphone doesn't actually do any of the work. The ink senses the chemical levels, and the LED's and filters read it off the ink. The only work being done is by the camera, which isn't really unique to the iphone.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      So if the article title was changed to "Android phones can read tattoo ink for medical info" the same argument can be said?

    • uhhhhhh how do camera's work without a camera app?

    • So what you're saying is that an iPhone can't read the ink?
    • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

      Why not just get a QR code tattooed on you?

  • by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Friday July 22, 2011 @09:15PM (#36853880)

    This could be a boon to those that have to do the finger sticks. Also useful for those that are borderline diabetic, or hypoglycemic.

  • This is a really cool idea.

    The iPhone part is a bit of a sensationalist gimmick, but it is a quick and dirty development environment for handheld image capture and processing. Just add the LED array for the specific light frequencies needed.

    The real story I think is the specialized ink tattoos that can change based on the presence (or lack thereof) of certain chemicals in the bloodstream. While it sounds like a fairly permanent solution, it could be a real blessing for long-term patients that need frequent blood tests. Gives healthcare professionals, as well as the patient, an easy way to monitor conditions without having to draw blood.

    • by click2005 ( 921437 ) * on Friday July 22, 2011 @09:50PM (#36854030)

      It they can do that why cant they do something more useful like make the change visual. Tattoo goes red you're in trouble with no need to keep
      taking pictures of your arm every time. As simple as checking your watch.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Because human eyes are not precision instruments.

        A camera measurable change under certain very specified LED lights (possibly only detectable in the dark) is relatively easy (and would not be that striking) compared to a dye which absorbed something prevalent in visible light to a very high level emitting a dramatically different light wavelength as a result and changing form active to inactive in a fairly narrow range of concentrations.

        Consider that the first could be read by something like a light sensor

      • It they can do that why cant they do something more useful like make the change visual.

        Maybe they're restricted by physics and chemistry? Just because they found one substance that emits certain wavelengths, that doesn't mean they instantly know what substances could emit any given wavelength under any given conditions.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Please, please! Make a tattoo ink that fluoresces in the presence of birth control. And tattoo all the women with the word "SAFE" on their forehead, visible when they walk in the bar under a black light.

  • this is another classic example of the further integration of technology into our lives, regardless of the device's brand name. However, I'm ironically reminded of Apple's infamous 1984 ad in the approach that a sense of cult worship exists in the uniformity (I own an iPhone, not a judgement). "We shall prevail."
  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Friday July 22, 2011 @10:36PM (#36854214)

    According to TFA, the ink fluoresces in proportion to the level of chemical in the bloodstream. Wouldn't an ink (or series of inks) that begin to fluoresce at a set of levels be better? You would remove the attenuating effect of skin and losses in the illumination/sensor light path. Different skin patches would be tattooed with different level sensitive inks and the result would be a pattern that would encode the bloodstream level. The reading s/w would be dirt simple (possibly even read with an LED flashlight/filter combo and the naked eye). a two dimensional tattoo could encode a number of parameters, include some registration patterns with ink that always fluoresces to mark pattern corners.

  • by Undead Waffle ( 1447615 ) on Friday July 22, 2011 @10:41PM (#36854240)
    Why come you got no tattoo?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This would be great for scuba divers
    No more guessing your oxygen and nitrogen levels !!!!

    • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

      Not just divers.

      Body builders, or anyone looking to keep tabs on some process in their body that is conducive to this sort of measurement. Hell, people trying to lose weight, adjust their diet. Women looking to track their fertility, either to bring about or prevent pregnancy... perhaps anyone on birth control?

      It is a nice new tool, something so often hard to do, now could become relatively easy and portable. It still remains to be seen what is actually practical... but... it has a lot of potential.

  • cool idea, only if i had iphone sigh...

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