A Skin Worn Patch can Monitor Glucose, Alcohol Levels, and Lactate all at Once
Engineers at California San Diego have created a "Lab on Skin"
Technology is at the fastest pace of advancement it has ever seen. Now, we add to that pace of things unimaginable just ten years ago. Engineerings at California San Diego University have developed a prototype device worn on your skin to continuously monitor health stats in real time.
The device is nearly the size of six quarters stacked up and is applied to the skin via a velcro-like patch of microscopic needles nearly about one-fifth the width of a human hair. The device is not painful to wear and the needles barely penetrate the surface of the skin as they sense biomolecules in interstitial fluids.
“This is like a complete lab on the skin. It is capable of continuously measuring multiple biomarkers at the same time, allowing users to monitor their health and wellness as they perform their daily activities.”
Joseph Wang, a professor of nanoengineering and co-author of the paper, said.
The edge this device has is that monitors such as glucose monitors for patients with diabetes only measure one signal. The problem with that is those devices are missing out on other information which could help those with the disease. If you can know the levels of alcohol and glucose it is beneficial as drinking alcohol can lower those levels and this device would prevent a diabetic from having a low blood sugar as they’re having a drink.
“With our wearable, people can see the interplay between their glucose spikes or dips with their diet, exercise, and drinking of alcoholic beverages. That could add to their quality of life as well.”
Farshad Tehrani, a nanoengineering Ph.D. student in Wang’s lab and one of the co-authors of the study, said.
Research has shown that biochemical levels measured in the interstitial fluid correlate well with levels in the blood. This is why the engineers have chosen to use microneedles. Patrick Mercier, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and co-author of the paper, put it “We’re starting at a really good place with this technology in terms of clinical validity and relevance. That lowers the barriers to clinical translation.”
Easy replacement is also something the engineers focused on as the microneedle patch can be detached from the electronic case. The electronic case houses the battery, sensors, transmitters, and other electronic components. The device can be recharged on a wireless charging pad which is also used by smartphones.
“The beauty of this is that it is a fully integrated system that someone can wear without being tethered to benchtop equipment.”
You can read about the Testing and Next Steps HERE
Researchers at the UC San Diego Center for Wearable Sensors describe their device in a paper published today (May 9, 2022) in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.