Brisbane woman designs earrings that can help monitor blood sugar for gestational diabetes

A pair of earrings that can help monitor blood sugar and an anklet to control incontinence have caught the attention of international venture capitalists.


The winning ideas have emerged out of a global boot camp hosted in Brisbane by Queensland University of Technology and the world's top ranked university Massachusetts Institute of  Technology (MIT).


Brisbanites Tamara Mills and Nyree McKenzie competed against more than 6,000 applicants from more than 30 countries to win for their innovations.


The concept of using jewellery to help control gestational diabetes came after 28-year-old Ms Mills battled the disease herself.

Mills earrings


Tamara Mills wears a dummy prototype of her earrings which she hopes will eliminate the need for diabetes needles. -ABC NEWS: LEXY HAMILTON-SMITH


Instead of having to prick a finger up to six times a day to test blood sugar levels, her team developed a pair of earrings to painlessly do the job instead.


It is a non-invasive, continuous blood glucose monitor that completely eliminates the need to prick your finger.


"It is similar to using infrared technology, so it is completely painless. It uses light," Ms Mills said.


"And it is continually sending information to your mobile device with your blood sugar levels."


The earrings come with an app that can analyse photos of what a diabetic is about to eat, and then assess what impact the food will have on the body's insulin levels.


"So if you feel like eating something like a donut when you are pregnant, all you have to do is input 'pink iced donut' into your phone and it will tell you based on your historical data and your current blood sugar level what your likely response to eating that donut will be," Ms Mills said.


"Or it will give a suggestion like 'eat a quarter [of the doughnut] or eat yoghurt instead'."


Ms Mills said up to 60 per cent of women with gestational diabetes did not comply with regular self-monitoring requirements and diet control recommendations.


Team-mate Courtney Condren, who is also diabetic, said their dream was to take the product to market and eventually spread out from gestational diabetes.

Courtney Condren


Ms Condren, who is diabetic, wants to take the earrings to market.  ABC NEWS: LEXY HAMILTON-SMITH


The technology can also be adapted from earrings into a watch or a ring.


A dummy prototype has been made, but is yet to be patented, so the team cannot release the exact science behind the device.


Anklet to give confidence to the incontinent


Nyree Mckenzie watched her father live with the indignity of incontinence.


"It really struck me how limiting and isolating living with incontinence is for people," she said.


"There had to be a better way than this limiting, shameful secret that people are living with."


Her team designed a discreet, non-invasive anklet that pulsates to stimulate nerves.


That stimulation normalises the neural communication between the bladder, bowel and brain.


- ABC News

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