Researcher develop tiny wearable to monitor multiple health stats

Multi-tasking wearable prototype tracks several health stats at once
(Source: UC San Diego)
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Scientists at the UC San Diego Center for Wearable Sensors have developed a multi-tasking microneedle wearable that can continuously monitor blood sugar levels, alcohol consumption levels, and even muscle fatigue during exercise. The UCSD prototype can measure glucose, alcohol, and lactate levels in real-time.

Microneedles patch to attach it to your skin

The tiny multi-tasking microneedle wearable is applied to the skin through a patch of microneedles. The wearable is neither uncomfortable nor painful, and it penetrates the skin just enough to detect biomolecules in the fluid surrounding the cells beneath the skin.

multi-tasking microneedle wearable
Disposable microneedle patch (Image Source: UCSD)

Various enzymes on the microneedle tips react with glucose, alcohol, and lactate in the interstitial fluid. The built-in wireless transmitter transfers the data to a smartphone app.

The disposable microneedle patch is removable from the reusable electronic case, which houses the sensors, battery, and other electronics.

A complete lab on the skin

Professor of nanoengineering Joseph Wang describes the device as a “complete lab on the skin.” The wearable can measure multiple biomarkers, allowing users to monitor their health and wellness while going about their daily activities.

multi-tasking microneedle wearable charging
Wireless charging demonstration of the wearable (Image Source: UCSD)

This invention is a game-changer as most commercially available monitors for diabetic patients only measure one signal. According to the researchers, it poses a problem as it leaves out information that can be crucial to people with diabetes.

Because alcohol lowers blood sugar levels, knowing them can help the wearer avoid having their sugar levels drop too low while drinking. Physical activities, in turn, influence glucose regulation in the body. And, because lactate is a biomarker for muscle fatigue, knowing about it can help diabetic patients as well.

What’s Next for the multi-tasking microneedle wearable?

Through testing, the researchers discovered that the measurements taken from their wearable are comparable to those taken from commercial monitors.

As of now, the engineers behind it are working on improving the lifespan of the microneedle patch. They are also discussing the possibility of adding more sensors. The diabetes monitoring wearable will be marketed as AquilX.

  • Meanwhile, check out our review of the Redmi Watch 2 Lite.