Blood glucose monitoring earring wins award

A blood glucose monitoring earring that measures levels and delivers feedback in real time was among the finalists at the 2020 Global Grad Design Awards in the UK.

The Sense Glucose Earring (Sense) designed by 22-year-old Tyra Kozlow is a non-invasive blood glucose monitor that could revolutionise how patients manage type 1 diabetes.

The glucose monitoring earring requires a single lobe piercing which incorporates safe high-frequency radio-waves that penetrate through the lobe and provides data on the characteristics of the blood.

Unlike some of the other glucose monitors on the market, the design does not require constant blood samples.

Once the blood is monitored, Sense sends an alert the user about their current blood glucose levels. The app can share data, analyse trends and generally help the user to manage their condition.

Design inspiration

The inspiration to design a piece of wearable technology came after Tyra chaired a focus group with parents whose children lived with type 1 diabetes.

The group told Tyra of the stigma their children experienced. They mentioned that their children felt ashamed of their diabetes and would often avoid managing it in front of friends. They also reported that they had difficulty telling others about their diagnosis.

Keeping blood glucose in target range

Managing diabetes is based on finding the right balance of medications to keep a person’s blood glucose within their target range. If their blood glucose goes too high, there are significant risks of complications like vision loss and kidney disease. If their blood glucose is too low, it can lead to fainting, seizures, and in the most serious cases even death.

Tyra said “Type 1 diabetes is not based on behaviour patterns or lifestyle choices, but young people with the condition can experience a distressing level of stigma. This can lead to poor glycaemic control which in turn can lead to other health problems.”

Teenagers with diabetes

Tyra is confident that the Sense Glucose Earring will have a positive impact on young people living with type 1 diabetes.

“I hope Sense helps teenagers feel more in control of their diabetes and they’re encouraged to manage their condition because they’re using  Smart technology,” said Tyra.

“By making the monitoring process as easy as measuring your heart rate on a Smart watch, I hope it reduces the stigma and becomes more a part of everyday life,” she added.

Read more about Tyra’s design and the competition she was involved in here.

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