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Scientists create innovative method to monitor blood sugar levels with smartphone technology


Apr 3, 2024

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a branch of the US government, recently announced that its researchers have developed a new technique to use the magnetometer on a regular cell phone to measure glucose concentrations in blood accurately. Most modern cell phones are equipped with a magnetometer that can detect the Earth’s magnetic field for navigation. Researchers discovered that this same magnetometer can be utilized to measure various molecules and biomarkers in blood.

In a proof of concept study, researchers attached a small well containing a solution (instead of blood) and a strip of hydrogel to a cell phone. The hydrogel, a porous material that expands in water, was embedded with tiny magnetic particles that react to glucose concentrations or pH levels by expanding or contracting. pH levels can indicate different disorders in the body. As the hydrogel particles change in size, they move the magnetic particles closer to or farther away from the magnetometer in the cell phone, altering the magnetic field strength.

The NIST team stated that the smart hydrogels are affordable and easy to produce. In the future, these hydrogels could be sold as inexpensive test kits that can be attached to a cell phone for glucose monitoring. This technology, which is based solely on a smartphone’s capabilities, could offer a low-cost alternative to current testing methods. The study results were recently published in the journal Nature Communications.

By editor

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