This content is not available in your region

South Korean researchers develop a smart patch for diabetes

South Korean researchers develop a smart patch for diabetes
Text size Aa Aa

Most diabetics need a finger prick test several times a day to determine whether their blood sugar level is under control.

But the developers of this transparent patch with its electric circuits and tiny gold plates claim that they will soon be freed from this painful routine.

The device allegedly allows diabetics to easily monitor their blood sugar levels and the medication to be injected when and wherever necessary.

“Diabetics are very reluctant to measure blood sugar, or get an insulin shot in public,” explained Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Dae-Hyeong Kim. “This creates a problem with the management of that disease. Things which a diabetic should take care of on a daily basis are often only done once a fortnight. This technology makes the diabetes management painless. It’s also not visible to others and less stressful”.

The sensors of the patch send the data collected from the patient’s perspiration to a smartphone app which makes calculations based on the sweat-based data. If the app judges that the patient needs medication, then the micro-needles embedded in the patch deliver the drug.

Developers, who claim the thin micro-needles cause hardly any pain to the patient, are now looking ahead.

“I think that the diabetes patch can enter the market within a short time after the technical development stabilises and a process for mass production is established,” added Dae-Hyeong Kim. “Nevertheless, in order to commercialise the patch, new plants should be built, production lines should be established, and we still need to get certified. The patch needs to go through animal testing first.”

According to World Health Organization, diabetes affects around 422 million adults worldwide, killing 1.5 million people each year.