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article imageImplantable health sensor runs off body glucose

By Tim Sandle     Oct 4, 2018 in Health
A new implantable sensor has been developed, which assesses key biological markers to make an assessment of different types of diseases. The sensor draws on human glucose in order to operate.
The new research comes from Washington State University, where scientists have produced an implantable sugar-powered sensor. The sensor assesses the body's biological signals in order to detect, prevent and diagnose diseases.
The sensor is powered by a biofuel cell and it uses glucose from human body fluids fort its operation. The innovative technology is also composed of an analog front-end circuit, which functions to process physiological and biochemical signals at a high sensitivity.
As a health sensor, further advantages over existing technology include the need not to be recharged, which overcomes a problem with medical smartwatches and the fact that the device can be implanted, whereas many patches need to be fixed on the surface of the skin. By being implanted the sensor is more accurate.
An important future aspect is that the device can be produced at a low cost, drawing on already existing manufacturing processes. Also related to cost is the low power consumption. The sensor only requires a few microwatts of power to operate, and can also be powered indefinitely.
For those of a more squeamish nature when it comes to needles, the sensor overcomes the issue of the skin of a finger needing to be pricked in order to assess for a disease like diabetes.
Discussing the technology with Smart2Zero, lead researcher Professor Subhanshu Gupta stated: “The human body carries a lot of fuel in its bodily fluids through blood glucose or lactate around the skin and mouth. Using a biofuel cell opens the door to using the body as potential fuel."
The sensor has undergone safety and efficacy tests and it has been shown to be non-toxic and stable. Although the sensors have been tested in the lab, the researchers are hoping to test and demonstrate them in blood capillaries, which will require regulatory approval.
The research has been published in IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems I: Regular Papers. The research paper is titled “From Battery Enabled to Natural Harvesting: Enzymatic BioFuel Cell Assisted Integrated Analog Front-End in 130nm CMOS for Long-Term Monitoring."
More about Sensor, Medical devices, Glucose, Physiology
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