Open Source – Non-Invasive Glucose Meter Project #WearableWednesday (Updated)


Useful project for glucose monitoring for folks with diabetes. Via idlehandsproject.com.

I’m sure we are all now aware of the rapidly increasing epidemic that is Diabetes. I myself am part of those statistics. That is just my way of saying I also have it. We’re all just statistics to our healthcare systems. We’re not individuals where they care about how our lives work and if they’re actually able to help or not. They look at some statistics, and then make everyone conform to the average. I personally don’t agree with this practice. Humans are not the same, we are all different. One thing that works for one group of people, isn’t going to work for another group. We need variety in our choices on how to manage our personal lives for a number of reasons. One of those major contributing factors in this is money(isn’t it always?). In North America alone there are many people struggling to pay for their medical expenses and have a lower quality of life because of it. Test strips alone are a huge nuisance on a person who is managing their Diabetes. Knowing this information, and the fact that it also directly affects me as well, I decided to look into other methods of glucose monitoring.

I discovered an interested method that is done by shining light though the skin. Different wavelengths of light are absorbed at different rates through blood depending on certain conditions. Pulse oxymeters use this same technique to determine the amount of oxygen in the blood. Without getting really heavy into the details, basically you use a green LED, a red LED, IR LED, and a 1550nm NIR LED. The green is used to determine how much skin is in the way, the Red and IR are used to determine the volume of blood being measured, and with the volume of blood you can use the 1550nm NIR LED to determine the amount of glucose. The reason 1550nm is used is because at that specific wavelength water in the blood does not absorb as much light as other wavelengths, and glucose still absorbs light at a reasonable rate. There are plenty of studies on this phenomena so if you would like to look into the details yourself look up the Beer-Lambert Law. Which is a law that represents how much light can make it through a translucent media based on which type and how many molecules are in the way.

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Update: A reader wanted to point out the following, we have included their text below:

This it is not a functioning glucose meter- it is an IR/NIR transmissive optical sensor. This technology has been studied extensively for use as a glucose meter, but has never resulted in a product. There is no evidence that this platform is capable of measuring glucose. A comprehensive history of glucose measurement, including optical methods can be found here: http://www.mendosa.com/noninvasive_glucose.pdf

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