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article imageSmartphone case assesses blood glucose levels

By Tim Sandle     Dec 23, 2017 in Health
Monitoring blood glucose levels on a regular basis is important of diabetics. The process can be time consuming and some technologies are less accurate than others. A new method, using a smartphone case, promises a rapid assessment.
The new device is called the GPhone and it is based on nanoengineering principles. The device is composed on three elements. First, the 3D printed case that wraps around a smartphone has a permanent, reusable sensor located in one part. Second, small, single use enzyme-packed pellets are magnetically attached to the sensor. Thirds, an app, downloaded to the smartphone, conducts they data interpretation from the enzymatic reaction.
The novel idea has come from the University of California San Diego. The idea of linking a smartphone app to a sensor embedded in the case of the smartphone has led to a portable and effective device. The aim was to create something for patients to use that’s easy, portable and where data can be collected digitally.
Commenting on the invention, lead scientist Professor Patrick Mercier told Controlled Environments magazine: “Integrating blood glucose sensing into a smartphone would eliminate the need for patients to carry a separate device.”
The researcher goes on to outline the key innovations: “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.”
The device works by going through the following steps:
1. The patient takes special stylus and places one of the enzyme packed pellets into the sensor. The enzyme is glucose oxidase.
2. The sensor activates.
3. A drop of the patient’s blood is placed on top of the sensor.
4. The sensor measures the blood glucose level and transmits data, via Bluetooth, to the app (an Android-based software application).
5. The app then displays the glucose level.
The device remains at the proof-of-concept stage. The team envisions one day integrating glucose sensing directly into a smartphone rather than a case. Following clinical trials the aim is to produce a commercial model.
The development of the GPhone is described in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics. The research paper is headed “Re-usable electrochemical glucose sensors integrated into a smartphone platform.”
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