No one enjoys getting blood tests. Often it means having a needle shoved into one of your veins only to have your precious blood sucked out of your body. Ok, it might not be THAT bad, but it certainly isn’t enjoyable. However, thanks to a new device that can be implanted into your skin, getting you blood tested might be about to get a whole lot easier.
The yet to be named device was designed by a group of scientists led by Giovanni de Micheli and Sandro Carrara at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, or EPFL, in Switzerland. The device is only half of an inch long but despite its size it’s packed full of technology that could be extremely helpful, being made up of 5 different sensors, a coil for wireless power, and the necessary electronics to be able to emit radio waves for wireless communication.
The way that it works is that each sensor is coated with certain enzymes that target specific substances in the blood. The reaction that the enzymes have with the substances tell scientists exactly how much of each substance is in the blood, which can be extremely helpful in targeting certain diseases. The device has the necessary enzymes to detect substances such as lactate, glucose and ATP, which is a lot better than current devices which can only detect glucose levels. Once the data is collected, it is wirelessly transmitted via Bluetooth to a smartphone owned by the patient, and the results can then be relayed to the patients doctor.
The device is aimed to be able to provide constant care for the patient, both day and night, and with little to no discomfort. While the implant currently only lasts two months due to the enzymes on the sensors being used up, it is relatively easy for a new implant with new enzymes to be implanted once the old one is no longer useful.
While the device is currently still in prototype phase and has only been tested with animals, the scientists behind the project have said that it should be ready for commercial release within the next four years. This device is certainly a huge step foreword for blood testing, and should prove to be extremely useful in the future.