DiaFit Is a Research Project Exploring the Customizability of Wearable Glucose Monitors

This Arduino-based project explores the customizability of wearable glucose monitors to improve the lives of diabetes sufferers.

The cells in your body absorb glucose, a simple sugar, and use it for energy. After digestion, your body carries glucose through your bloodstream and insulin, a hormone, helps cells absorb the sugar. But people who suffer from diabetes have problems with either insulin production or their body's ability to use insulin. This results in blood sugar levels that are too high and cells that don't receive the glucose they need. It is imperative that people with diabetes regularly check their blood sugar levels to avoid that. DiaFit is a research project that explores the customizability of wearable glucose monitors to make their lives easier.

Traditional glucose monitors are portable devices that accept small blood samples to determine the patient's blood sugar levels. But newer wearable devices, called CGMs (Continuous Glucose Monitors), can be worn for extended periods of time. Some devices include insulin pumps to automatically deliver insulin when necessary. Like everything else that they might wear, people want the option to tailor their glucose monitors to fit their fashion tastes and lifestyles. Nobody wants to have to wear a glucose monitor all day, but if they need to in order to maintain their health, they at least want some say in how the device looks and feels.

DiaFit is both a prototype wearable CGM and an exploratory study researching possibilities for how the device can be worn by users. The basic DiaFit prototype is 3D-printed and uses an Arduino Nano 33 IoT board to collect and relay data. The key here is that DiaFit is modular and is wearable in a variety of ways. The research team demonstrated it on a smartwatch-style wristband, a ring, a necklace, and even an earpiece that looks like a Bluetooth headset. This gives users several options for how to wear DiaFit. Someone who is going for a jog might choose to wear it on the wristband, while another person going on a date might prefer to wear it as a necklace. If DiaFit made it to market, it is safe to assume that color options would also be available to choose from.

This is a prototype at this time and there is no guarantee that DiaFit will ever become available to consumers. But it is great to see researchers attempting to make life just a little bit more enjoyable for people who have to deal with the realities of living with diabetes.

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