21 October 2020
Electromagnetic blood sugar sensing
Published online 15 June 2020
A new sensing system is inspired by the anatomy of the arteries and veins of the human hand and arm.
A multidisciplinary research team at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon has designed a system of flexible, wearable glucose sensors that can non-invasively and continuously measure blood glucose levels. The sensors can be fitted in a glove, an armband, and other wearable accessories.
The researchers say their device, which can be connected to a patient’s phone to transmit the data to a physician, is an alternative to the traditional glucometer, which requires pricking a finger with a needle.
The scientists fabricated a prototype of the system, which mimics the network of arteries and veins in the hand and arm. The sensors, consisting of an antenna and a band-reject filter, measure blood glucose levels by transmitting electromagnetic waves to target veins and arteries through the skin, muscle and fat tissue. The tissues and glucose in arterial and venous blood then reflect the waves back to the sensors.
The intensity of the reflected waves varies according to the glucose concentration in the arteries and veins. The change in intensity between the transmitted and reflected waves helps estimate the glucose concentration in the blood.
The sensors successfully measured blood glucose levels in diabetic rats and healthy human volunteers subjected to glucose tolerance tests. The researchers say their results were within clinically acceptable ranges, and as good as commercial self-monitoring devices.
“The sensor design can be adjusted to the patient’s needs,” says AUB associate professor of electrical engineering, Joseph Costantine. “For example, a glove and an armband can be used by an athlete, a sock by a child, and a necklace by an adult. Future extensions of this work include the potential for using the sensor as a trigger for an insulin pump, which could pave the way for an artificial pancreas system.”
Hanna, J. et al. Noninvasive, wearable, and tunable electromagnetic multisensing system for continuous glucose monitoring, mimicking vasculature anatomy. Sci. Adv. 6, eaba5320 (2020).