Cheap Diabetes Tests Can Now Be Printed With an Ink-Jet Printer
Glucose strips that diabetics use to measure their blood sugar levels can be pretty pricey - but students have now come up with a way for people in poorer regions to simply print them out at home.
Bioengineering students in the US have developed technology that lets people in the developing world use a hacked printer to print out glucose strips for just five cents each. They're also providing them with cheap parts to make their own device to measure their blood sugar levels.
Glucose strips are part of blood glucose level tests diabetics need to perform around five or more times a day to work out how much insulin or food they need to inject to manage their diabetes and avoid complications such as blindness and cardiovascular disease. These strips are then inserted into machines called glucometers, which give them a reading of their levels.
But right now, glucometer machines are hard to access and expensive. And if someone in a developing region can get their hands on one, it will only work with a specific brand of store-bought glucose strips, which can cost around $1 each. For a quarter of the people in Tanzania, where the students started their project, that adds up to around 10 times their average monthly salary.
Now students from Clemson University in South Carolina have developed technology that lets people in developing countries build their own simple glucose testing systems at home for a fraction of the cost, and using easy-to-access parts.
Called GlucoSense, the glucometer is made entirely from off-the-shelf parts that can be bought in electronics stores or easily sh Continue reading