Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a device that can measure glucose in sweat with the touch of a fingertip. A personalized algorithm assists with providing an accurate estimate of blood glucose levels.
No more finger pricks on a daily basis!
The UCSD team led by nanoengineering professor Joseph Wang and Juliane Sempionatto devices a system that could measure glucose in a non-invasive fashion and correct for individual variability.
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How does this new sweat sensor work?
The glucose sensor is a touch-based sweat sensor. It is fabricated using polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel on top of an electrochemical sensor.
When volunteers of the study placed their fingertip on the sensor surface for a minute, the hydrogel absorbs tiny amounts of sweat.
Glucose in the sweat undergoes an enzymatic reaction that results in a small electrical current which can be detected by a handheld device.
In tests, the algorithm was more than 95% accurate in predicting blood glucose levels before and after meals. To calibrate the device, a person with diabetes would need a finger prick only once or twice per month.
Before the device can be made commercially available, a large-scale study will need to be conducted according to the researchers.
The initiative was supported by the UC San Diego center for wearable sensors and the National Research Foundation of Korea.
The results from this pioneering study were published recently in ACH sensors.
A non-invasive way to measure and monitor blood glucose levels will be the holy grail for wellness and health monitoring. Although there has been a lot of research and work that has been done in this area over the decade, we are yet to see a commercially available product with reliable capabilities.
This could change soon as large tech companies look to incorporate blood glucose level monitoring in their wearables.