Rub-On, Tattoo-Like Sensor for Testing Blood Sugar Levels

Rub-On, Tattoo-Like Sensor for Testing Blood Sugar Levels?

A proof-of-concept study, scheduled to be published in the American Chemical Society’s journal Analytical Chemistry in the near future and submitted by Joseph Wang and colleagues at the University of California San Diego, indicates that a rub-on, tattoo-like sensor that sticks to the skin that they have developed can detect glucose levels.

Preliminary testing on seven healthy volunteers showed that the newly developed tattoo-like sensor was able to accurately determine glucose levels. With these results, there is great potential for the use of this device in diabetes management, and other conditions as well, such as kidney disease.

The device is the first ultra-thin, flexible device that sticks to a person’s skin like a rub-on tattoo. Wang and his associates created the tattoo-like sensor that can detect glucose in the fluid just under the skin based on integrating glucose extraction and electrochemical bio-sensing.


In the past, a glucose-sensing wristband had been used on selected patients, but it caused skin irritation and its use was discontinued. Wang’s team wanted a better approach.

People with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes must check their blood sugar levels many, many times a day using a skin prick (usually a fingertip), squeezing blood onto a glucose strip and inserting the strip into a glucose meter for an accurate blood sugar level count.