Goodbye Glucometer: New device could make pinpricks history for diabetics
October 30, 2011 by meganradford - 1 comment
This week, two scientists, formerly students at MIT’s George R. Harrison Spectroscopy Laboratory, announced they had further refined a device that could let we diabetics monitor blood sugar levels without piercing our fingers several times daily. The Raman spectrograph works by shining a low-powered laser though the thin fold of skin between the thumb and forefinger, eliminating the need to draw blood. The spectrograph They have reduced the size of the device, called a spectrograph, from the size of the previous prototype (a tabletop’s worth of equipment) to the current prototype (which is the size of a shopping cart). The corresponding tests would take about one minute.
As most of us can imagine, it wouldn’t be too convenient to push along our glucometer shopping carts all day (unless of course, someone was pushing you to work down a hill . . . =whee!). The scientists are working to reduce the size of the device to a portable level.
This story was like a walk down memory lane to the time I received my first glucometer at the age of six. The thing was the size of a car battery (I may be exaggerating here, but I was six years old and my hands were a lot tinier). I remember this thing vividly—it took about half the size of a dime’s amount of blood, and had a sixty second countdown. During those sixty seconds, if you so much as TOUCHED the machine or looked at it funny, you would get a giant beeping ERROR message and have to start the process all over again. Three or four of such errors in a row could leave you feeling dizzy and in need of a transfusion. Every few days, you would need to disassemble the interface of the glucometer, to clean off the dried blood that had seeped into its machinery. A tummy-churning routine to be sure.
I’ve met people in the recent past though who were vehemently attached to their old gigantic glucometers and unwilling to part with them as technological advances streamlined the size and efficiency of the machines. There’s something eerily familiar and comforting about those tiny pinprick calluses on our fingers and the hunks of machinery that are our glucometers.
Who am I kidding—I am definitely one of those people who heart their glucometer more than is psychologically healthy. We go for windy walks together, and I spend long stretches of my life gazing at its little screen longingly. Plus, after watching Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, I have a complete phobia of new technology—I am completely afraid that the new blender on my kitchen counter is plotting to kill me, and a new glucometer would probably be met with the same scrutiny and be forced to sleep outside my bedroom in a locked cabinet.
In order for me to jump ship from my current model to a new version, it would need one of the following features:
•rainbow sparkles and/or glitter
•a button which plays the Final Countdown upon command
•an accuracy of 99.99%
•a 100% non-evil rating and a guarantee that it will not turn into HAL and try to bump me off
What about you? How attached to your glucometer are you? What would it take for you to switch?
Next Discussion: Insulin Resistant? »