Until now, the most modern tool for insulin control was FreeStyle Libre-type patches. However, scientists continue to search for gadgets that go more unnoticed. For example, a diabetes necklace that is controlled by sweat.
This new smart collar capable of measuring various chemicals and concentrations in sweat could change the lives of some 400 million diabetics worldwide by eliminating the need for finger-prick blood tests. The device features a biochemical sensor clasp and pendant on the back that, when worn around the neck, captures glucose and serotonin levels.
During a human test, Ohio State University engineers showed that the smart collar could measure a concentration of sodium, potassium, and hydrogen ions from the subject’s sweat with up to 98.9% accuracy.
The team also envisions its biosensors being added to personal belongings, such as rings and earrings, or even implanted under the skin to inform wearers of changes in their health. Sweat contains hundreds of biomarkers that contain details of our state of health.
They explained that the next generation of biosensors will be so biointuitive and non-invasive that key information contained in a person’s body fluids could be detected. Also, due to the small size of the sensor, only a small amount of sweat is needed to capture a reading.
The first human tests of the smart collar were carried out, which were placed on a subject while they pedaled for 30 minutes. Afterward, the participant took a 15-minute break, drank a sugary drink, and returned to riding the bike. The results show that, in all cases, the concentration of glucose in sweat reaches a peak between 30 and 40 minutes after sugar intake.
The results suggest a less obvious spike in glucose concentration afterwards, indicating that drinking sugar may induce an increase in the amount of glucose in sweat .
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The scientists note that while it will be some time before a diabetes necklace is available to the general public, the team is already thinking about what will benefit the people who will most need this potentially life-saving technology.
Instead of using the bulky, rigid chips that go into our phones and laptops, the sensors are made from ultra-thin materials. This style of design makes the product very flexible, protects the functionality of the device, and ensures that it can safely come into contact with a person’s skin.
Although the study notes that further miniaturization would make it more likely for this and similar devices to become implantable, for now, the scientists said they envision it as a lightweight device with simple circuit designs that could be easily integrated into our daily lives.