The worst part of getting a shot or having your blood drawn is certainly the anticipation. As reported on IEEE Spectrum, researchers at the University of Calgary in Canada have been working on a fully autonomous testing device that can prick diabetes patients for blood testing purposes at unanticipated times, hopefully alleviating this dread.
The prototype is worn like a wristwatch, and volunteers report that the quick jabs are similar to being bitten by a mosquito, which, though annoying, doesn’t really hurt by itself.
The “e-Mosquito” uses a shape memory alloy (SMA) that contracts when heated in order to cause the needle to prick and produce samples from the human wearing it. Though effective, it currently draws a sample of blood too small to be measured by normal glucose testing strips. Researchers hope a custom strip can be designed around the needle, making this method effective, while not causing a larger wound for the patient.
“The idea is to have periodic, spontaneous and autonomous biting resulting in reliable blood testing. It’s a very significant step in demonstrating autonomous contact with the capillary.” — Martin Mintchev, senior author on the project.
You can read more about the project here.