Color-Changing Ink Turns Clothes into Giant Chemical Sensors #Wearablewednesday
Tuft Universities Silklab is an an interdisciplinary research lab that investigates materials at the interface between technology and life Sciences. The laboratory’s goal is to provide innovation and solutions of global societal impact through advances in naturally derived, abundant, sustainable materials.
A new color-changing ink could aid in health and environment monitoring—for example, allowing clothing that switches hues when exposed to sweat or a tapestry that shifts colors if a dangerous gas enters the room. The formulation could be printed on anything from a T-shirt to a tent.
Wearable sensing devices such as smart watches and patches use electronics to monitor heart rate, blood glucose, and more. Now researchers at Tufts University’s Silklab say their new silk-based inks can respond to, and quantify, the presence of chemicals on or around the body. Silk’s ability to “act like a protective ‘cocoon’ for biological materials” means the necessary sensing and color-changing compounds can be added to the ink without losing their function, says Fiorenzo Omenetto, a biomedical engineer at Silklab and senior author of a new paper on the technology published in July in Advanced Materials.
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