A subdermal nanosensor "tattoo" and an iPhone attachment could be used to monitor an individual's blood oxygen, glucose and sodium levels, according to an article published in the journal Integrative Biology, Wired's "Gadget Lab" reports.
Heather Clark, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Northeastern University, led the research on the new technology (George, "Gadget Lab," Wired, 7/26).
How it Works
To apply the "tattoo," which leaves no visible mark, researchers inject a solution containing certain nanoparticles into the skin (Vezina, Technology Review, 7/20).
The nanoparticles in the subdermal sensor bind exclusively to specific blood contents, such as sodium or glucose, and trigger a fluorescence change.
The iPhone attachment then uses the mobile phone's camera to detect the fluorescence changes in the subdermal sensors and translate the results into quantifiable data.
Matt Dubach -- a bioengineering graduate student at Northeastern University -- said the data collected through the iPhone still must undergo processing through a secondary machine. However, he added that researchers are working to develop an application that would run all of the data processing through the iPhone ("Gadget Lab," Wired, 7/26).
Clark and the research team initially developed the subdermal sensors as a replacement for the finger-prick bloodletting technique that people with diabetes use to measure glucose levels (Technology Review, 7/20).
Researchers said the sensors also could be used to:
- Measure certain blood gases for respiratory or cardiac patients;
- Monitor medication levels to provide insight on proper dosages; and
- Track blood iron levels for people with anemia (Jackson, FierceMobileHealthcare, 7/21).