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Finger pricks may soon be a thing of the past when it comes to managing blood sugar levels. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 425 million people have diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes appears when the body does not produce enough insulin and can lead to heart attacks, kidney failures, blindness, and even amputation. The apparition of diabetes is increased by an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle and excess junk food consumption.
In the last 40 years, the prevalence of diabetes doubles to reach 8.5% of the population. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to avoid diabetes. Smartwatches and fitness trackers can help achieve these goals and even more when it comes to diabetes management. Monitoring blood sugar levels is critical for controlling diabetes and insulin delivery.
Even if the FDA recently approved the ControlIQ artificial pancreas developed Tandem Diabetes Care, the road to its widespread use will still be a long one. Blood glucose monitoring is still the way to go. Smartwatches to monitor blood sugar levels are still in their infancy but are rapidly evolving to ease patients’ lives.
Many people could benefit from these technologies, including the elderly. Older adults, especially those with dementia, have difficulty tracking their glucose levels.
This article will present you with what we think are the most promising technologies and the best wearables blood sugar monitors to get diabetes under control.
Initially presented at the CES2020 and developed by Hong-Kong company Add Care, Glutrac looks like a regular smartwatch.
Glutrac is part of the Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) devices. Optical sensors act at different wavelengths; the Glutrac uses four monitoring modalities (absorption spectroscopy, Electrocardiography, Photoelectric Plethysmography, and dynamic metabolic heat monitoring).
By relying on machine learning algorithms, the system will extrapolate the blood glucose levels in a non-invasive way. It takes approximately one minute for the physiological data to be collected, processed in the cloud, and pushed back to the user.
Glutrac is a full health monitoring platform recording blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, respiratory rate in real-time. Sensors on the back offer recording every 15 minutes, while another front sensor is used for on-demand readings.
The technology is still in its early stage but is very promising. New results are expected to be presented during the next CES 2021.
AerBetic’s wearable device caught attention during CES2019. The technology is based on the analysis of the expired air using MEMS-based nano gas sensors. The initial concept came from Diabetes dogs trained to use their sense of smell in a sudden change in sugar level. Using a nanosensor, the device continuously monitors the gas emitted and used its dead learning capabilities to develop a glucose reading.
Nanosensors are the core technology allowing to detect micro levels of gases continuously. Using the app, the wearer can also input reading manually to help fine-tune the algorithm. The product has in beta testing in 2019 and was supposed to be released in 2020 for $499.
The French startup PKVitality raised another round of 2.25 million euros at the beginning of 2020 to continue developing their connected blood glucose meter smartwatch. The company technology also caught the attention of Dassault System and giant Pharmaceutical company Sanofi.
The K’Watch is waterproof and tracks glucose continuously during day and night. Underneath the watch is a disposable patch consisting of an array of micro-points and biosensors. The patch will measure the glucose level through the skin and needs to be replaced weekly.
The watch also acts as a normal fitness tracker and measures the number of steps, calories burned, and activity levels. Good to know that the micro-needles never touch the nerves or blood vessels. Hence, painless continuous monitoring. As with any fitness watch, the data are synchronized with a smartphone.
Even though the K’Watch is still under development and is not yet approved as a medical device, the technology is promising. It should be a gamer changer for measuring blood sugar levels. The company plans to sell the K’Watch for $199 with an additional monthly $99 for the patches.
Japanese company Kyocera developed a carbohydrate portable monitor. Initially presented during the CEATEC fair in Japan in 2019, this new carbohydrate monitoring system estimates carbohydrate metabolism based on pulse-wave patterns from the user’s heartbeat through the radial artery.
The device was not presented as a medical device but as a health and fitness product. When the device touches the wrist, the system takes approximately eight seconds to measure the pulse waves and estimate carbohydrate metabolism in the blood. The results are visualized on a smartphone.
Even though, the product was planned to be sold in 2020 in Japan. To date it is still not available.
Using smartwatches for continuous monitoring of blood glucose and insulin dosing is the grail for patients with type II diabetes. Not only will it help in treatment decisions, but it will also offer more safety and freedom.
Numerous projects are under development, but none has truly proved itself a real and reliable medical device. With the exponential rise in both technology and the number of patients who have diabetes, we can rest assured that new devices will soon hit the market.