As he was removing it from his son's finger, the splinter gave him an idea: Since it showed no open wound in the skin, he thought to himself that a sensor like a sliver would be ideal for all kinds of biomedical applications since the skin would heal very quickly above it and after that no track infection can occur.
The associate professor of biomedical engineering and researcher at the Case School of Engineering has developed for the first time a "sliver-sensor" a fully functional, minimally invasive, microscopic new monitor that can be placed just under the skin and seen with the naked eye for very accurate, continuous examination of glucose level for diabetics and other bodily fluid levels with the help of simple color changes.
Colors in the tiny sensor, which is smaller than the tip of a pencil, gradually change from orange (low glucose levels) to green and then to dark blue as levels increase. A deep, darker blue signifies the highest glucose level that can occur in diabetics. Gratzl and co-principal investigator Koji Tohda, a biomedical engineering researcher at Case, believe the implications for improving the quality of life of diabetics would be substantial.
"Many diabetics could greatly benefit from this technology, freeing them from having to take samples from their fingers several times a day to monitor blood sugar levels," Gratzl said. "The monitor could also help doctors with close monitoring of electrolytes, metabolites and other vital biochemicals in the body, primarily those of critically ill patients."
Gratzl and Tohda's research also may benefit our future astronauts. The research is being funded
Contact: Laura Massie
Case Western Reserve University