The ink can be made to react to different chemicals by "illuminating" by opening the door so that the live tattoos printed in 3D act as sensors.
A team of engineers working at MIT has successfully created a new type of 3D printed ink that is alive and can react to specific chemicals with which it comes in contact when "turned on" . The key to the functioning of this new ink are the genetically programmed living cells.
According to MIT News reports, the engineers created a mixture of hydrogel (water and polymer mixture), nutrients and living cells to form an ink that can be printed on 3D structures using a 3D printer. Bacteria were chosen because they are very resistant, with the cell surviving when it is added to a hydrogel and facing the applied forces when pushed through a print nozzle.
Live cells can -programmed to react to a range of different chemicals. This reaction is visually demonstrated when the cells are illuminated. As proof, the engineers printed a thin structure similar to a tree formed by cells in the branches, each of which reacts to a different chemical.
The finished hydrogel patch was placed on the back of a hand that had been smeared with these different chemicals. As you can see in the image above, the living ink reacted to the different chemicals with visual feedback. This breakthrough opens the door to living tattoos that can monitor different chemicals when they are used.
With further development, MIT says that it is possible to make cells communicate with each other and therefore, could eventually be used to form 3D printed life computer that we can use For now, the focus is on live sensors that we use as patches and the use of ink as a way to administer medications over time or modernize surgical implants.