New Smartphone Case to Offer Blood Glucose Monitoring
Engineers at the University of California San Diego on December 11, 2017, revealed that they have developed a smartphone case and app for diabetic patients to record and track their blood glucose readings.
Monitoring blood glucose levels can be a hassle for diabetic patients, especially when they have to carry their glucose monitoring kits while travelling. According to continuous glucose monitoring market report published by Coherent Market Insights, GCM devices enables monitoring of glucose level during bedtime, noon, pre/post lunch, or before/after exercise. The GPhone, is one such portable glucose sensing system, developed by Mercier, nanoengineering professor Joseph Wang and their colleagues at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. Wang and Mercier are the director and co-director of the Center for Wearable Sensors at UC San Diego respectively. The work of the team was published in Biosensors and Bioelectronics Journal.
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“Integrating blood glucose sensing into a smartphone would eliminate the need for patients to carry a separate device. An added benefit is the ability to autonomously store, process and send blood glucose readings from the phone to a care provider or cloud service,” said Patrick Mercier, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC San Diego. GPhone has two main components. One is a slim, which is 3D printed case that fits over a smartphone and has a permanent, reusable sensor on one corner. The second part consists of small, one-time use, enzyme-packed pellets that magnetically attach to the sensor. The pellets are placed inside a 3D printed stylus attached to the side of the smartphone case.
The test takes 20 seconds to show results. A printed circuit board enables the whole system to run off a smartphone battery. To run a test, the user have to take the stylus and dispense a pellet onto the sensor, which activates the sensor. Then the user has to drop a blood sample on top. The sensor measures the blood glucose concentration and wirelessly transmits the data via Bluetooth to a custom-designed Android app that displays the numbers on the smartphone screen. Used pellet are discarded, deactivating the sensor until the next test. The pellets contain an enzyme called glucose oxidase that reacts with glucose. This reaction generates an electrical signal that can be measured by the sensor’s electrodes. The greater the signal, the higher the glucose concentration.
Different solutions of known glucose concentrations were tested and results were accurate throughout multiple tests. “This system is versatile and can be easily modified to detect other substances for use in healthcare, environmental and defense applications,” Wang said. Researchers were focused on cutting down of blood volume conventionally extracted from a finger prick. The app also notifies users to check their blood sugar level.
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