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Students aim to develop smaller glucose meter

Designed as a smartphone case, it will allow diabetics to easily check their blood sugar

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Students at UAE University (UAEU) are hoping to make life easier for diabetics, by creating a smaller device that they can carry anytime to help them monitor their blood sugar levels.

The device — IDiaBeat — is being designed and built as a smartphone case cover, and will allow diabetic people to easily check their blood sugar levels throughout the day without the need of carrying a pouch containing all the monitoring equipment they need to use, which is what most diabetic people currently do.

“Diabetic people have to check their blood sugar levels anywhere from two to seven times a day, and for that they often carry a pouch that contains a glucose meter, needles and other things they need to monitor their blood. For many of them, this is often an inconvenience, and so we wanted to make things easier for them,” said Latifa Al Ameri, one of the inventors of the device.

“The glucose meter that we are building is designed as a smartphone cover, so they can take it anywhere with them, and it is very convenient to use anytime they want,” she added.

“The way the glucose meter works is very simple — it has a needle at the bottom as well as a sheet, and so the person just pricks his finger with the needle for the droplet of blood, and then he puts the blood on the sheet, and inserts the sheet into the device, which will then provide the results to the person’s smartphone through an app that we are developing,” she said, explaining how the device works.

Al Ameri said that the app would have several features for the user other than just providing their blood sugar levels.

“The app will be able to store your history of glucose levels, what time you checked your blood sugar levels, and it will also have customised reminders for the person to check their sugar levels,” she said.

“All of this data can also be sent to the doctor, so the person won’t even need to go to the hospital — the doctor can check the results while you are at home,” she added.

“The whole process is done through one application and through one device, they don’t need to carry so many things with them, and so it just makes everything much less complicated,” she said. Al Ameri said that she and her team have been working on the device for eight months now, with the device still in its prototype stage, but she is confident they would have a final product ready in 2018.

“We are in the research and development phase, we have gotten a lot of good feedback so far, and hope to have the final results ready very soon after we are finished with the prototype.

“The long-term plan is to introduce this to the market for the general public. We will initially start in the UAE, and then look to expand to the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Middle East and North Africa,” she added.

Al Ameri also spoke positively on the potential impact of the device, saying that it addressed real-world issues.

“Most of the team members are Emiratis and we can see that the number of diabetic people in the UAE is increasing, and so if we can make any impact even if it is something small to make the lives of diabetics more easy, then we will be very happy and will consider this to be a success,” she said.

Aisha Al Memari, another team member on the project, echoed the same sentiments.

“We are a team of young entrepreneurs from different backgrounds — science, engineering and business — with a strong and common willingness to become more actively involved in our society by developing an inspired, socially responsible and innovative project.

“That is why we have proposed a new solution that can make everyday life easier for people with diabetes, with the high diabetes rate in the UAE inspiring us to come up with this innovative design for a glucose meter,” she added.