Consumer Peripherals

Temporary Tattoo Detects UV Rays and Notifies You if You are About to Get a Sunburn

07 September 2018

LogicInk is a temporary tattoo that senses sweat, skin volatiles, skin microbiome and the wearer’s environment. The tattoo changes color, providing the user with live feedback about their sun exposure levels. The sensors are in the ink, making the design highly customizable.

Programmable 'tattoos' that inform you about your body and integrate seamlessly into your life. (Source: LogicInk)Programmable 'tattoos' that inform you about your body and integrate seamlessly into your life. (Source: LogicInk)

The LogicInk team is currently developing tattoo sensors that capture and relay information about hydration, blood alcohol concentration, exposure to pollution, DNA and more. The UV exposure sensor is already in production and on the market.

LogicInk UV tracks both UV exposure at the moment and cumulative exposure over the course of a day, factoring in any sunblock the user has applied.

The outer circle of LogicInk UV turns fully pink when the user has reached their limit of sun for the day, based on WHO data for sensitive skin. The inner circle moves from white to dark pink (and back) depending on the amount of exposure you’re currently receiving.

A proof of concept for a high-energy visible (HEVL or blue light) sensor was developed by the team. Unlike ultraviolet (UV) radiation, HEVL overexposure doesn't redden skin, yet, “HEVL can be as damaging to the skin as UVA and UVB combined,” producing uneven pigmentation, premature aging and impaired skin barrier function.

NIH tested and validated the prototype’s functionality. Similar sensors would react to biomarkers related to nicotine, THC and caffeine, augmenting LogicInk's self-diagnosis offerings.

Air pollutants negatively affect most of the organs and systems of the human body, including lungs and skin. Pollutants vary in their composition across places and time. The major outdoor air pollutants include the particulate matter of fewer than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5). The smaller the particulate, the deeper it penetrates lungs and other organs. Knowing the concentration of key air pollutants and the length of exposure empowers people to act to reduce inhalation and to protect skin and general health.

In some ways, the sensors are already familiar to users. Designs mirror the interfaces on electronic devices, like the energy bars on smartphones or the activity ring on smartwatches.

Space distribution and overlapping of ink compositions is used to "program" tattoo sensor displays. The team expects to create fully new paradigms, advancing how people interact with technology, including tattoo-to-tattoo interactions.

The team envisions a day where people will mix and match a wide range of sensors into fully customized tattoos that help them live healthier, more informed lives.

Depending on the specific sensor, the developers need to deal with aspects like signal amplification (i.e., how to visually scale nanograms of a pollutant to the naked eye), or how to deal with inter-subject variability (e.g. one person sweats more than the other).

The team launched a Kickstarter to develop the prototype into a full product, increase sensitivity and reduce the response time. The Kickstarter will also help fund new smart tattoos that can detect more environmental health factors.

To contact the author of this article, email

Powered by CR4, the Engineering Community

Discussion – 0 comments

By posting a comment you confirm that you have read and accept our Posting Rules and Terms of Use.
Engineering Newsletter Signup
Get the Engineering360
Stay up to date on:
Features the top stories, latest news, charts, insights and more on the end-to-end electronics value chain.
Weekly Newsletter
Get news, research, and analysis
on the Electronics industry in your
inbox every week - for FREE
Sign up for our FREE eNewsletter
Find Free Electronics Datasheets