Name your device and explain how it works?
The "BlinkBit" (TM) is a biosensor plug that is placed in the tear duct of one eyelid and contains a glucose sensor supported by microelectronics to measure tear glucose continuously and report it to one's cell phone. It will be powered by scavenged energy from body heat, local electromagnetic radiation, and ambient light. Tear glucose tracks with blood glucose with ~10 minute delay. There are over 1M Americans with plugs in their tear ducts due to dry eye syndrome, thus there is already an established market of 93,000 Americans with diabetes and dry eye syndrome. Two patents have been issued for the BlinkBit(TM).
ï¿¼What problem in healthcare does the device solve?
It has been shown that continuous glucose monitoring provides more beneficial outcome for diabetics than sporadic measurements. In addition, a minimally invasive insertable solution for measuring blood glucose overcomes compliance issues, particularly in children. Continuous monitoring and data mining with novel predictive algorithms can provide an early warning system for the onset of a diabetic crisis. Having a minimally invasive monitoring system coupled to a cell phone could also help alert individuals of unsafe eating habits in order to nudge them towards adopting healthier lifestyles. The healthcare system would benefit from the better outcomes and treating less of the expensive health issues faced by poorly compliant diabetics.
ï¿¼Why should the device be commercialized?
9.3 Americans have diabetes and this number is on the increase. The BlinkBit would improve over the Google contact lens glucose monitor by eliminating the need to insert and remove the device. It is anticipated, based on the longevity of our test BlinkBit sensors, that the BlinkBit would remain resident in the punctum for up to 6 months. One would be encouraged to visit one's diabetologist semi-annually to review data and for coaching. Thus, both the doctor and the patient will benefit from adequate communication and improved outcomes.
ï¿¼What inspired you to design this device?
As a clinical chemist I see all the challenges associated with measuring glucose with sufficient frequency to improve health outcomes in diabetics. I also see the poor compliance with finger sticks in diabetics and those who report fabricated data in order to avoid the finger sticks.