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3D Printed Glucose Sensors

Futurism reports on recent findings by researchers from Washington State University.  Apparently, these scientists are “hoping [3D print] glucose biosensors.”  This technology could greatly reduce costs for those with diabetes.

The researchers envision “the 3D printed sensors being used in wearable glucose monitors that could stick to a person’s skin and monitor bodily fluids, like sweat.  Without such systems, people living with diabetes must self-monitor their blood glucose levels, involving a [laborious] finger pricking process, or shell out thousands for automated monitoring systems.”

As is the case in many other industries, “compared to traditional manufacturing processes, 3D printing sensors would reduce waste, cutting down costs, while improving the accuracy of glucose monitors.”

In order to develop their 3D printed biosensors, the researchers at Washington State University “used a process known as direct-ink writing, which allowed them to 3D print fine lines of various ‘inks’ at very tiny scales.  In this case the ‘ink’ is a nanoscale material, which is used to create small and flexible electrodes capable of detecting glucose in a person’s sweat.”

Due to 3D printing’s process, “which is very precise, the material is printed in smooth, uniform layers, increasing the sensors’ sensitivity.  The tiny sensors are non-invasive and out-performed traditional sensors at detecting glucose.  3D printing also allows the sensors to be custom printed for patients with different needs, including the needs of children.”

The team knows 3D printing these sensors is only the first step, however.  “In order to put them to use, the team is working on developing a non-invasive wearable system for the sensor to be used in.”

Direct-ink writing could also “be used to print electronics and other components for wearable devices,” which would further reduce costs.  “Once a wearable system is produced, the process could easily be scaled up to help make such devices as accessible as possible.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Futurism

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