Fit Tech magazine issue 1 2020

Page 16



Ali Yetisen

A team at Technical University Munich has come up with technology that can turn tattoos into biomarkers. Lead researcher Ali Yetisen explains his vision of making human skin a diagnostic display…


ith everyone now

interstitial fluid, which is a surrogate

familiar with

medium for blood. To date, it works

wearables, researchers

with three elements found in the

at Technical University

blood: pH levels, glucose and albumin,

Munich (TUM), headed

a type of protein. This means the

by Ali Yetisen, set up

tattoo could alert a diabetic patient if

a project to envision how they may look in 20 or 30 years time. The

“If the glucose levels are high, the

10-strong team has taken wearables

tattoo turns green, and if they are

to the next level, by using the skin as

too low it becomes yellow,” explains

a diagnostic display to show real time

Yetisen. “This could be an effective

changes in the body’s constitution.

way of keeping track of health for

The tattoo uses a dye which changes Ali Yetisen is lead researcher

they were having a blood sugar spike.

colour according to changes in the

people with specific health concerns.” The next phase of research will look at electrolytes to show hydration and dehydration levels; this could

The tattoos use a dye that changes colour according to changes in levels of three elements found in the blood

be applied in the health and fitness industry, particularly for those taking part in endurance sports. “Minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium are


critical in monitoring the body’s hydration status and this could provide a real time measurement,” says Yetisen. “We could also look at lactate and glucose levels and the


impact of fructose and caffeine. “The third phase of our research will look at hormone levels – testosterone, adrenalin, cortisol, all of the stress biomarkers, which can identify fatigue


and exhaustion. The opportunities are endless, it is a new concept which no one has really explored.”

16 1 2020