Multi-Tasking Wearable Continuously Monitors Glucose, Alcohol, and Lactate University of California, San Diego

Multi-Tasking Wearable Continuously Monitors Glucose, Alcohol, and Lactate


Imagine being able to measure your blood sugar levels, know if you’ve had too much to drink, and track your muscle fatigue during a workout, all in one small device worn on your skin. Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a prototype of such a wearable that can continuously monitor several health stats—glucose, alcohol, and lactate levels—simultaneously in real-time.

The wearable consists of a microneedle patch connected to a case of electronics. Different enzymes on the tips of the microneedles react with glucose, alcohol and lactate in interstitial fluid. These reactions generate small electric currents, which are analyzed by electronic sensors and communicated wirelessly to an app that the researchers developed. The results are displayed in real time on a smartphone.

“This is like a complete lab on the skin,” said center director Joseph Wang, a professor of nanoengineering at UC San Diego and co-corresponding author of the paper. “It is capable of continuously measuring multiple biomarkers at the same time, allowing users to monitor their health and wellness as they perform their daily activities.”

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Farshad Tehrani and fellow co-first author Hazhir Teymourian, who is a former postdoctoral researcher in Wang’s lab, co-founded a startup company called AquilX to further develop the technology for commercialization. Next steps include testing and improving upon how long the microneedle patch can last before being replaced. The company is also excited about the possibility of adding more sensors to the device to monitor medication levels in patients and other health signals. In parallel a team at Johns Hopkins has been collaborating with Joseph Wang's team, Netz Arroyo, Yao Wu, and An-Yi Chang have developed "Magnetic Microneedle Sensor Arrays for Aptamer-Based Molecular Monitors". Interested corporate licensing professionals can explore the context and ecosystem of these developments using the View in Visible Legacy link below.