At Georgetown University scientists have been working on a DARPA sponsored project to develop a miniature glucose monitoring device that is essentially non-invasive and can be worn on the body for continuous testing. There is no question that if developed, this technology would be quite useful at the home front as well.
The biosensor device works to painlessly remove this outer-dermis, or dead-skin layer, by using a “micro-hotplate” (or micro-heater), which measures about 50 microns square and is carefully controlled to apply a small amount of power. (To imagine how small this area is, note that the period at the end of this sentence is about 10 times larger than the hotplate). For 30 milliseconds (that’s 30 one-thousandths of a second) the “hotplate” is turned on to a temperature of 130 C. Sounds hot, but in such a small spot, and for such a short time, a person cannot even detect the heat, or feel any pain, as it is applied to the outer layers of skin.
This hotplate causes a tiny micro-pore to form through which a little bubble of fluid passively emerges. The bio-sensor then reads the glucose levels in the sample fluid through tiny electrodes coated with a substance that reacts specifically to the glucose.
The bio-sensor project initially began through funding from the military, with the intention of developing a miniature device to remotely monitor the health status of soldiers in a battlefield. This tiny prototype chip, which acts as a patch on the skin and is called the B-FIT (Bio-Flips Integrable Transdermal MicroSystem), can obtain samples of fluid from under the skin one time every hour for a 24-hour period.
To support the design and development of the device, Currie and Paranjape received a Department of Defense contract for $3 million over 3 years from DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).
Full story at Georgetown: Monitoring Diabetes Without Pain and Blood: Biosensors Offer New Alternatives …