[ISEA2017] Artist Talk: Katia Cánepa Vega — The Dermal Abyss: Possibilities of Biosensors as a Tattooed Interface

Artist Statement

Advances in biotechnology suggest new use cases outside the domain of research. The Dermal Abyss (d-abyss) is our proposal to create novel biointerfaces within the skin. D-abyss renders an interactive display by patterning into the dermis biosensors whose colors change in response to variations in the interstitial fluid. d-abyss is designed to use the aesthetics, permanence, and visibility nature of tattoos to encode information. We replace traditional inks with biosensors that colorimetrically index the concentration of sodium, glucose, and H+ ions (pH) in the interstitial fluid of the skin: the pH sensor changes between purple and pink and the glucose sensor between blue and brown; the sodium and a second pH sensor fluoresce at a higher intensity under UV light. In this talk, we will discuss our preliminary evaluation of these biosensors in an ex vivo pig skin model, and the opportunities and challenges for biosensors implanted in the dermis.

  • Katia Cánepa Vega, MIT Media Lab, Harvard Medical School, USA katiavega.com