Scientists have developed a new app that uses the smartphone camera to painlessly measure blood glucose levels in diabetics, an advance that may replace the need for patients to prick their fingers several times a day.
The Epic Health app, which is set to undergo clinical trials in the UK in the coming months, is suitable for both Type 1 and 2 diabetics
It works by placing a fingertip over the smartphone camera lens and capturing a series of images that convey information about the users heart rate, temperature and blood pressure and blood oxygen saturation.
Similar innovations have been developed using laser technology and sensor pads to avoid using needles but most need an accompanying gadget to interpret the results.
The app can also measure insulin resistance levels – a key way of determining whether someone is pre-diabetic.
It does this by measuring the variation in the patients pulse which is related to blood glucose concentration.
“The app uses a simple protocol which prompts the user to take a noninvasive test and this allows us to capture the vital information in a systematic way which produces the most consistent results,” Dominic Wood, founder of the app, told the Daily Express.
“The prospect of a non-invasive app that monitors blood glucose levels without a drop of blood and without even an accompanying piece of technology is an exciting one,” said Dan Howarth of Diabetes UK.
Clinical trials of the Epic app will begin in the coming months at four centres in the UK.