By Paul Wynn
(Image courtesy of James Mattil / Shutterstock.com)
Imagine a wristwatch that measures blood sugar without finger sticks or a t-shirt with special sensors to predict heart attacks before they happen. These and many other products recently debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show, where the likes of Blu-Ray DVDs, HDTVs and 3-D printers have captured the public’s imagination over the years. While many futuristic smartphones and devices take center stage at the meeting, there are also many innovative health-care technologies that draw attention. Contributing editor Paul Wynn profiles five products that stood out at the meeting that offer convenience and less invasive methods for managing diabetes and its complications. Click “Next” below to learn more.
A new wristwatch tests blood sugar levels without drawing blood, instead using nanosensors to detect gases given off through breath or skin that are indicative of high and low blood sugar. The faceless watch, made by AerBetic of Birmingham, Alabama, will be paired with a companion smartphone app that can inform individuals and their caregivers about blood sugar levels. A prototype was displayed at the conference, but the company plans to make the device available later this year to both adults and children at a cost of less than $500.
Medtronic introduced a revamped Sugar.IQ app with artificial intelligence technology that aims to predict the likelihood of a person experiencing a low blood sugar event within an upcoming 1- to 4-hour window. The app uses advanced analytics to give users a full picture of their current blood sugar levels and provides individualized guidance for better diabetes management. The smartphone app accompanies the Medtronic Guardian Connect, a standalone continuous glucose monitoring system for those on multiple insulin injections. The updated Sugar.IQ app is already available for iOS-based mobile devices.
Chronolife detects heart attacks based on physiologic markers that are measured through sensors embedded in a washable t-shirt. The sensors collect information on six parameters: electrocardiogram, abdominal breathing, thoracic breathing, pulmonary impedance, physical activity and body temperature. The data is sent to an accompanying app for round-the-clock monitoring and reporting. The Paris-based manufacturer aims to make the t-shirt available by the end of the year for less than $300, plus a monthly subscription fee of $15 to $30 for data management.
Omron’s HeartGuide is an FDA-approved blood pressure monitor in a wristwatch, providing results in as little as 30 seconds. The device looks like a standard watch until closer inspection of the wristband, which includes an embedded inflatable cuff to take blood pressure readings. HeartGuide alerts users to reposition their arm if needed for improved accuracy and holds up to 100 readings, working in conjunction with its companion app HeartAdvisor. Omron, which sells blood pressure monitors in drugstores already, is selling this new device for $499 and it is available for online purchase.
Diabeloop has developed an integrated closed-loop insulin delivery system that consists of three components: a continuous glucose monitor, a patch insulin pump and a handset resembling a cell phone that predicts blood sugar levels and instructs the pump to automatically deliver insulin doses. A blood sugar measurement is sent via Bluetooth to the handset every five minutes. The reading is analyzed in real-time and insulin is administered based on the person’s physiology, history and data entries on meals and exercise. The product is currently undergoing FDA review.
Want to learn about additional cutting-edge diabetes technologies? Read “10 Diabetes Technologies to Watch in 2019.”
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