Researchers at the State University of New York in Binghamton, US have developed a self-powered paper-based wearable sensor to measure glucose levels during exercise. The bandage-like wearable patch could prevent hypoglycaemia during workouts.
The disposable patch, which is able to measure glucose levels in a wearer’s sweat, offers potential advantages over existing invasive blood testing methods which are impractical to carry out during exercise.
The paper-based patch sticks directly onto the skin like a Band-Aid and wicks sweat into a reservoir where it’s converted into electrical energy, powering a biosensor that monitors glucose without the need for external power.
The research holds a lot of potential to be the next big thing in medical technology. This wearable, single-use biosensor integrates a vertically stacked, paper-based glucose/oxygen enzymatic fuel cell into a standard Band-Aid adhesive patch.
“Sweat-based glucose sensing is attractive for managing exercise-induced hypoglycaemia because the measurement is performed during or immediately after exercise when there is enough sweat to obtain an adequate sample,” said Seokheun Choi, assistant professor at the University’s Electrical and Computer Science department.
The process of measuring blood glucose levels includes pricking the skin to take blood samples. Doing this during exercise may cause the blood to get contaminated with excess sweat, or lead to skin irritation, Choi said.
“The method needs patients to carry many accessories during physical activity, including lancets, alcohol swabs and a relatively large glucometer,” he added.
Being a portable and simple-to-manage system, the prototype is a convenient device as far as the exercise-induced hypoglycemia is concerned because due to sweating it will give the pool of sample required without an invasive measure.
Preventing hypoglycaemia during exercise has been a big challenge, but the new patch could represent an effective and inexpensive means of overall diabetes management.
The arrangement, however, requires external power to calculate from the experimental result with the help of a read-out instrument. The study was published in the journal Micromachines.