The next generation of tattoos could actually save your life! There’s a new temporary “smart tattoo” being developed by Princeton engineering professor Michael McAlpine. And it not only senses when the person wearing it becomes ill, but it can also call for help. 

The tattoo is made of coconut silk, and gold wires that are thinner than a spider’s web, and it can be stuck to the inside of your wrist – or to a tooth. It uses a special testing strip to detect bacterial infections and viruses. And it only needs a couple bacteria to trigger a positive, which makes it much more sensitive than current tests. Then, the tattoo transmits the information via Wi-Fi to a nearby computer. 

Professor McAlpine was inspired to create the tattoo after hearing about a woman who could barely breathe because of an asthma attack. But first-responders knew what was wrong because she had the word “asthma” tattooed on her arm. So McAlpine thought, if she can have a passive tattoo that says “I have asthma,” why not have an active tattoo that can continuously track your health?

The golden health tattoos are still works in progress. But hospital tests are just around the corner. And smart tattoos could be the future of diagnostic medicine.