Easy Glucose Sensor For Patients on the Go!
Monitoring and checking blood sugar levels can be a hassle for people with diabetes. But not anymore! Thanks to a new glucose-sensing device developed by engineers from the University of California San Diego.
The new device which is a smartphone case plus an app, known as GPhone, will enable patients to record, monitor and track their blood glucose readings any time, any place.
Patrick Mercier, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC San Diego, cited the benefits of the new sensor device.
Mercier said, “Integrating blood glucose sensing into a smartphone would eliminate the need for patients to carry a separate device. Integrating blood glucose sensing into a smartphone would eliminate the need for patients to carry a separate device.”
The device is a new proof-of-concept portable glucose sensing system developed by Mercier, nanoengineering professor Joseph Wang, and their colleagues at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.
The new device is portable and can be used at home or on the go, the smartphone case has areusable sensor. This is unlike previous glucose sensors developed by the team, which would no longer work after several uses and had to be completely replaced. However, keeping the enzymes in separate pellets resolved this issue.
Although the refill pellets are quite costly, Wang pointed out the system stores a substantial amount of data which can track readings over long periods.
Aside from that Wang highlighted the amazing versatility of the glucose sensing system.
Wang said, “This system is versatile and can be easily modified to detect other substances for use in healthcare, environmental and defense applications.”
How It Works
GPhone has two main parts. One is a slim, 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 housed inside a 3D printed stylus attached to the side of the smartphone case.
To run a test, the user would first take the stylus and dispense a pellet onto the sensor, thus activating the sensor. The user would then drop a blood sample on top. The sensor measures the blood glucose concentration, then wirelessly transmits the data via Bluetooth to a custom-designed Android app that displays the numbers on the smartphone screen. The test takes about 20 seconds. Afterwards, the used pellet is 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.