Ask just about any diabetic and they’ll tell you that the daily process of finger pricking to obtain a blood sample for measuring glucose levels is tedious and painful. Despite the advancements in devices such as continuous glucose monitors, diabetes management has yet to become a pain-free process.
However, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems have developed a sensor that could make fingersticks join the ranks of antiquated medical procedures of yesteryear.
This new glucose sensor includes technology that could make it superior to anything else on the market. First, the sensor is located on the patient’s body and requires a mere 100 micro amperes to operate, which could allow a patient to wear the sensor and continuously monitor their glucose levels for months at a time. There’s no need for a blood sample; tissue fluids such as tears or sweat can be used. Moreover, the sensor has an extremely tiny footprint of just 0.5 x 2.0 millimeters, but contains a whole bevy of components, such as a potentiostat to measure electrochemical signals, an integrated analog-digital converter that converts the signals into digital data, and a wireless system that can send and receive data between the sensor and a mobile device and even provide power to the sensor. The sensor could soon be able to control a miniature insulin pump, which would create a nearly painless and automated system to manage diabetes.
More info from Fraunhofer IMS: Measuring glucose without needle pricks