For the past few years, the team has been developing and testing a new biosensor device for glucose monitoring. The size of a small band-aid, it is designed to be worn anywhere on the body, where the biosensor samples tiny amounts of fluids that lie just beneath the top layer of skin.
The device is small and convenient, and makes measuring glucose levels pain-free and minimally invasive.
The biosensor device works to painlessly remove the outer dermis, or dead-skin layer, by using a "micro-hotplate." The hotplate temperature is carefully controlled to apply a small amount of power. The "hotplate" is turned on to a temperature of 130oC. This sounds hot, but in such a small spot the size of a hair follicle, and for such a short time, a person cannot even detect the heat, or feel any pain, as it is applied to the very outer layers of skin. The biosensor then determines the glucose levels from the sample of fluid, which rises to the skin surface through the micro-pores created by the hotplate, using tiny micro-electrodes that have been coated with a substance that reacts specifically to the glucose. The fluid being sampled is interstitial fluid and not blood, which is commonly used to monitor glucose levels.
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