New smartphone technique developed for measuring blood glucose levels by researchers

In a groundbreaking announcement, the US government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology unveiled a new technique that leverages the magnetometer in cellphones to accurately measure blood glucose levels. This technology takes advantage of the magnetometer that is present in most modern cell phones, which is typically used for navigation purposes but has other potential applications. The researchers behind this innovation believe that this method could be expanded to measure various molecules and biomarkers in blood.

In a proof-of-concept study, the researchers attached a small well containing a solution instead of blood and a strip of hydrogel to a cellphone. The hydrogel, a porous material engineered to react to glucose and pH levels by expanding and contracting, caused changes in pH levels that could indicate different disorders. The movement of magnetic particles within the hydrogel in response to changes in glucose levels caused corresponding changes in the strength of the magnetic field detected by the magnetometer on the cell phone.

The researchers claim that this method has the ability to measure extremely small concentrations of glucose, although such sensitivity may not be necessary for at-home glucose monitoring. However, this technology has the potential to enable testing for glucose in saliva, which has lower sugar concentrations. The NIST team stated that smart hydrogels used in this study are cost-effective and relatively simple to create, making them viable for inexpensive test kits that can be connected to a smartphone app for measuring blood glucose levels.

The results of this research have been published in Nature Communications. This innovative use of a smartphone’s magnetometer has the potential to provide an affordable alternative for blood glucose monitoring compared to existing options.

By Samantha Johnson

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