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Phone and paper: IIT Jodhpur researchers develop unique glucose testing device
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Phone and paper: IIT Jodhpur researchers develop unique glucose testing device

The new system enables smartphones to detect glucose levels on the spot through an app
Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur, have developed a smartphone-assisted glucose testing device
The system where a PAD strip is used to detect glucose levels through a smartphone’s camera and an application.

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur, have developed a smartphone-assisted glucose testing device envisioning fast-diagnosis glucose levels for easy and on-spot results. This new system connects a paper-based analytical device (PAD) to smartphones using an Android application to detect blood glucose levels.

What are paper-based analytical devices?

PADs are portable devices that have revolutionized point-of-need testing by quickly assessing biochemical samples. They come with lab-based functionalized biodegradable paper that changes color based on the level and amount of glucose present in the given blood sample. The smartphone camera can then be used to quicken the process of tracking glucose levels.

“Using machine learning, this system has been developed to be compatible with nearly all smartphone cameras,” said a press release issued by the IIT Jodhpur team. One drawback of PAD is that it needs specific light conditions to work. To overcome this, this newly developed system allows the PAD to work and transmit information to smartphones under variable light conditions.

Glucose testing: Fast and cost-effective results

The new device can provide on-the-spot glucose testing results without the need for laboratory settings. “Our team is working on an inexpensive design in order to provide solutions that are affordable, sensitive and equipment-free which comes under assured criteria described by World Health Organization,” said Prof Ankur Gupta, associate professor, department of mechanical engineering, IIT Jodhpur. Accompanying him in this study were Vinay Kishnani, Nikhil Kashyap, and Shivam Shashank from the same institution. Prof Gupta adds, “This module has been tried with artificial samples and is yet to be verified with real samples.” 

Additionally, the glucose testing device is designed to be cost-effective and biodegradable, with the current lab value being Rs 10. The team hopes to cut the cost in half once it is mass-produced.

Adapting PADs to detect other diseases

While the new system currently works only for glucose samples, Dr Gupta said, “This disposable microsystem can help in the initial screening of other diseases. It can be particularly beneficial in remote locations.” While the basic concept remains the same, the device needs adaptation for different target analytes, enzymes and indicators. The research team is working on the simultaneous detection of glucose, uric acid and lactate by utilizing different color indicators as different color codes in nonblood entities. The images captured on the PAD for each condition can be used for training with machine learning analysis, which will allow diagnostic information to reach the user’s smartphone directly.

“By incorporating machine learning techniques, the platform can provide reliable and accurate results, thus paving the way for estimating the accuracy of the results for improved initial healthcare screening and diagnosis of any disease,” the study elaborated.

Takeaways

Researchers from IIT Jodhpur have developed a new system where smartphones can be used to test glucose levels. Under the new system, a handy PAD is used to detect a person’s sugar levels using a smartphone application. This system enables smartphones to assist in testing glucose levels for easy and quick results.

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