Wearable Device: No More Finger Pricks?


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (Ivanhoe Newswire)—For many diabetics, daily monitoring of blood sugar means an inconvenient and uncomfortable finger stick. But what if there was a better way? Scientists are developing a tiny, wearable device that can sample human sweat and provide feedback on a number of chronic conditions.

Instead of a finger prick, what if it was possible to track blood sugar, with this patch? A team of bioengineers at Penn State have developed a small, wearable device that can monitor health non-invasively. This waterproof patch has embedded sensors. Bioengineers designed it to adhere and conform to the skin, staying put through daily activities and during exercise.

“Through that, we’ll be able to pick up all the vital information in term of the heart rate, respiration, sweat analysis,” explained Huanyu “Larry” Cheng, PhD, an assistant professor of engineering science and mechanics at Penn State University.

(Read Full Interview)

The device collects sweat and analyzes it for PH, sodium, and glucose levels. Those readings are especially important for a person with low blood sugar or diabetes.

“So, we don’t need to do the blood sampling all the time and we’ll be able to analyze glucose and the other biomarkers,” Professor Cheng shared.

Cheng says signals sent by the sensor will be transmitted to a smartphone or sent to the cloud, so a patient’s healthcare provider could have quick access to the information.

Wearable tech … relaying life-saving information in real time.

Professor Cheng says he expects to start the FDA approval process by the end of this year. He and his colleagues are in talks with local manufacturers, the National Institutes of Health and Amazon to produce and distribute the wearable monitor. The researchers are also working on dissolvable monitors that could be used inside the human body.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive & Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #4885

WEARABLE DEVICES BACKGROUND: Wearable technologies enable the continuous monitoring of human physical activities and behaviors, as well as physiological and biochemical parameters during daily life. The most measured data include heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, as well as blood oxygen saturation, posture, and physical activities using electrocardiogram, ballistocardiogram, and other devices. Wearable devices can be attached to shoes, eyeglasses, earrings, clothing, gloves, and watches and also are evolving to be skin-attachable. Sensors can also be put on items, such as chairs, car seats and mattresses.  A smartphone is typically used to collect information and transmit it to a remote server for storage and analysis. There are two major types of wearable devices that are used for studying gait patterns. Some devices have been developed for healthcare professionals to monitor walking patterns, including the accelerometer, multi-angle video recorders, and gyroscopes. Other devices have been developed for health consumers, including on-wrist activity trackers and mobile phone apps. Wearable devices and data analysis algorithms are often used together to perform gait assessment tasks in different scenarios.

(Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5334130/)

TRANSFORMATION OF WEARABLE DEVICES: Today, the industry of medical care and control has undergone significant changes to serve a wide range of facilities and services. These changes include more emphasis on prevention, recognition of primary risks, proper education of users and new ways of health care. These changes have evolved following the emergence of factors such as increases in the population of the elderly, various chronic diseases, and the field of their treatment. Major advances in science and technology such as basic developments emerging in the fields of micro/nanotechnology, wireless communication, information technology, and biomedical sciences have been made during the past 10-15 years, and a transformation has occurred in this area. The models designed and built of a wide range of biosensors as well as recently wearable biosensors are a clear indication of this.

(Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4766830/)

FUTURE OF WEARABLE DEVICES: The wearable technology market is expected to rise from $20 billion in 2015 to close to $70 billion in 2025, led by the health care sector. Growth and development in the sector are being driven by Apple, Accenture, Adidas, Fujitsu, Nike, Philips, Reebok and Samsung. Advanced informatics is expected to make a huge impact, as new healthcare and informatics devices could be a billion-dollar opportunity. A new wearable device for infants created by a Cambridge-California social enterprise could be the key to preventing fatal or crippling ailments such as diarrhea, malnutrition, malaria, human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), and others. The use of wearables in health care is still in a stage of infancy. The benefits of wearables in health care are well-documented but include remote monitoring to allow patients to go home earlier to improve their comfort and reduce the burden on manual hospital checks sciences.

(Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4766830/)




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Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Huanyu “Larry” Cheng, PhD, Assistant Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics

Read the entire Q&A