Best of the Internet
Today I Learned
Stories That Matter
About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms of Use Accuracy & Corrections
© 2024 THEDAILYNET All rights reserved
tdn logo
tdn logo
THEDAILYNET.COM / BEST OF THE INTERNET

Scientists find a way to measure blood glucose using just your phone's compass

A smartphone compass could be used in more ways than one to help us detect the amount of glucose in various liquids including blood.
UPDATED JUL 6, 2024
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Tima Miroshnichenko
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Tima Miroshnichenko

Phones originated just for making calls before texting added another dimension, and since then we have come a long way as smartphones can now be used to access information about almost anything and create content. But while people largely use phones to take pictures and videos for social media apart from making calls, the compass isn't frequently used since most people use maps to get by. But while it may not be used for navigation by most users, turns out it can serve a different purpose thanks to a bit of innovation. According to Medscape, the compass on our smartphone can help us keep track of our health as well.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Anna Shvets
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Anna Shvets

A research team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colorado has figured out how to use the smartphone compass for analyzing biomarkers in bodily fluids such as blood, sweat, urine, or saliva. It can be also used to monitor or diagnose certain diseases. "We're just at this point demonstrating this new way of sensing that we hope will be very accessible and very portable," Gary Zabow, a PhD group leader in the applied physics division at NIST who supervised the research, told the outlet.

The research team decided to measure the glucose levels in different alcoholic drinks like sangria, pinot grigio, and champagne. The results derived from the test showed results that were close to those obtained using actual glucose sensors. The inbuilt compass also helped them measure the pH levels of coffee, orange juice, and root beer almost accurately. However, in order to confirm that this method can be used to test bodily fluids or not, the team of experts is carrying out more tests.

Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Tima Miroshnichenko
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Tima Miroshnichenko

Aydogan Ozcan, a  PhD bioengineering professor at the University of California, Los Angeles who was not involved in the study, said that "It might enable new capabilities for advanced sensing applications in field settings or even at home." Apart from this, there are AI-powered apps on smartphones that can even detect skin cancer using the camera. "Smartphone cameras can even be harnessed for advanced optical microscopes and sensors to the level where we could even see and detect individual DNA molecules with inexpensive optical attachments," Ozcan added.

The compass inside our smartphones has a magnetometer that is capable of detecting the magnetic field of Earth. Zabow explained how the researchers inserted a small magnet inside a strip of small hydrogel which is a piece of material that is capable of expanding or contracting when it's dipped in a liquid. The expansion and contraction of the hydrogel moved the magnet.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Chokniti Khongchum
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Chokniti Khongchum

"For glucose, the hydrogel expands or contracts depending on the concentration of sugar in the liquid. With some calibration and coding to translate that reading into a number you can effectively read out glucose or pH," Zabow elaborated. The experts have planned to try this out with biological fluids even though complex fluids like blood can pose a challenge for their experiment. "It may be that you need to tweak the chemistry of the hydrogel to make sure it is really specific to one biomolecule and there is no interference from other biomolecules," Zabow added. This technique can be also used to check the contamination levels in water from taps, lakes, or streams.

POPULAR ON The Daily Net
MORE ON The Daily Net