A painless wearable gadget can measure blood sugar, alcohol and muscle fatigue at the same time.

A new hand-held gadget can measure blood sugar and muscle fatigue at the gym, as well as alcohol levels in the pub.

The prototype, developed in California, can continuously monitor three health statistics – glucose, alcohol and lactate levels – separately or in real time at the same time.

Approximately three poker chips are applied painlessly to the skin through a Velcro-like stain of assembled microscopic needles.

These needles take readings of fluid under the skin and then wirelessly send data to a special app on the smartphone.

Researchers hope to commercialize a device that will provide a unified solution for patients with diabetes in everyday life.

The device can be worn on the upper arm during the day, even if the user is in a gym or pub.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The device’s 25 microscopic needles, or micro-needles, are about one-fifth the width of a person’s hair.

Researchers say that they do not hurt to stick to human hands, as micro-needles barely penetrate the skin.

Various enzymes at the tips of micro-needles react with lactate, glucose and alcohol in the interstitial fluid. – The fluid that surrounds the cells under the skin.

These reactions are analyzed by electronic sensors and generate small electrical currents that are wirelessly connected to the smartphone application.

Engineers from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) describe their device in a paper published today in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.

“It’s like a complete laboratory in the skin,” said Joseph Wang, a professor of nanoengineering at the University of San Diego.

“It is capable of continuously measuring multiple biomarkers at the same time, allowing users to monitor their health and well-being as they perform their daily activities.”

Most commercial health monitors, such as regular glucose monitors for patients with diabetes, measure only one signal.

The problem is that it leaves information that can help people with diabetes manage their disease more effectively.

For example, controlling your alcohol intake is also helpful because alcohol lowers glucose levels.

Knowing these two levels can help people with diabetes keep their blood sugar levels low after drinking.

Biomarkers of muscle fatigue, such as combining information about lactate during exercise, are also helpful because physical activity affects the body’s ability to regulate glucose.

The device works with a customized smartphone application created by the research team to capture and visualize data

The device works with a customized smartphone application created by the research team to capture and visualize data

Approximately the equivalent of three assembled poker chips, the new device is applied painlessly to the skin through a Velcro-like patch of microscopic needles.  Here are the details of the disposable micro needle patch from its reusable e-box

Approximately the equivalent of three assembled poker chips, the new device is applied painlessly to the skin through a Velcro-like patch of microscopic needles. Here are the details of the disposable micro needle patch from its reusable e-box

“With our devices, people can see the link between a sharp rise or fall in glucose through diet, exercise and alcohol consumption,” said Farshad Tehrani, co-author of UCSD.

“It can also add to their quality of life.”

The device’s 25 microscopic needles, or micro-needles, are about one-fifth the width of a person’s hair.

Researchers say that they do not hurt to stick to human hands, as micro-needles barely penetrate the skin.

Various enzymes at the tips of micro-needles react with lactate, glucose and alcohol in the interstitial fluid. – The fluid that surrounds the cells under the skin.

These reactions are analyzed by electronic sensors and generate small electrical currents that are wirelessly connected to the smartphone application.

In the tests, the device was tested on five volunteers who wore the device on the upper arm, exercised, ate and drank a glass of wine.

The device's micro-needles barely penetrate the dermis, the inner layer of the two main layers of skin.

The device’s micro-needles barely penetrate the dermis, the inner layer of the two main layers of skin.

The device can be charged wirelessly on the charger used in Apple's iPhone.

The device can be charged wirelessly on the charger used in Apple’s iPhone.

It was used to continuously monitor volunteers ’glucose levels simultaneously with their alcohol or lactate levels.

Measurements of glucose, alcohol and lactate obtained by the device corresponded to measurements taken by commercial blood glucose monitors and breathalyzers, as well as laboratory measurements of blood lactate.

According to the team, each micro-needle patch is disposable, so customers can buy it wholesale and stock the device when needed for commercialization.

Connected to a reusable electronic case containing batteries, electronic sensors, wireless conductors and other electronic components.

This allows the device to be recharged on any wireless charging platform used for phones and smart watches.

Researchers have created a startup called AquilX to further develop the technology for commercialization.

The next steps include checking and improving how long the micro-needle patch can last before it is replaced.

The company is also excited to be able to add more sensors to the device to monitor drug levels in patients and other health-related signals.

SCIENTISTS CREATE A SMART GLAND THAT MAKES YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE

Whether you are standing, sitting, lying down, or even sleeping soundly, a blood pressure monitor can help you fight high blood pressure.

The Aktiia home blood pressure control kit, created by the company of the same name, comes with a cuff, wristband and partner attachment, which can constantly monitor blood pressure without a large device.

The Swiss-based company began monitoring blood pressure 15 years ago with optical sensors and is ready to launch it in the spring of 2021.

Instead of using artificial intelligence to “predict” blood pressure levels, it uses signal processing to make realistic measurements against the baseline reading.

Aktiia says her goal is to “improve cardiovascular health by giving patients and doctors a deeper understanding of their blood pressure patterns”.

Read more: A smart bracelet that measures your blood pressure

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