Thailand develops smartwatch that measures blood sugar

Thai researchers have invented a smartwatch that can measure glucose levels from sweat, a development that could benefit tens of millions of people living with diabetes.

A team at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok created the watch in collaboration with the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA). They said that it would be released and be on the market very soon. “The smartwatch can accurately measure blood sugar and lactate levels in real-time without any painand is less expensive than imported equipment or devices,” they confirmed.

Elevated lactate levels associated with diabetes can damage body tissues, leading to shock. The condition can be fatal if not remedied in time.

“Medical reports indicate that the level of glucose in sweat is directly related to blood sugar. So, we used this finding to innovate a device that helps tell the patient’s glucose level in real-time,” said Natnadda Rodthongkam, Deputy Director of the Metallurgy and Materials Science Research Institute at Chulalongkorn.

“This is very important to the daily life of diabetic patients who must regularly monitor and control their blood sugar levels,” she said.

The smartwatch is another indicator that Thailand’s research and development capabilities are strengthening, especially in medical sciences and technology.

The Kingdom has about 5 million people living with diabetes. Globally, an estimated 463 million people have the disease, and the number is projected to reach 700 million by 2045.

Without the Chulalongkorn smartwatch, those living with diabetes have to draw blood, usually from a fingertip, to do a glucose and lactate test. Although home tests are available, many people opt for doctor or hospital visits to have it conducted.

“Knowing real-time blood sugar and lactate levels will help patients take care of themselves, adjust their behavior, or seek immediate medical attention before it becomes dangerous. We, therefore, devised a method that is faster, more accurate, and doesn’t need fasting or drawing blood,” Natnadda said.

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