Despite considerable technical advances, there remains a dearth of minimally invasive glucose sensing and insulin delivery devices that are accurate, sleek, user-friendly, and transformative enough to revolutionize diabetes management. Coming from mechanical engineering, and more specifically, nanotechnology, I have spent the last three years -- since my daughter was diagnosed with Type I diabetes – using the latest advancements in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), nanotechnology, and electrokinetic micro- and nano-fluidics to invent diabetes technologies which meet these requirements. We have recently made three major breakthroughs to enable fluid sampling, glucose sensing, and insulin delivery in small, low-power, on-body devices. Firstly, we have developed innovative microneedle fabrication technologies which overcome the major limitations of existing needles. Our fabrication strategy produces repeatable, reliable needle arrays with the requisite hollowed bellowed tip required for painless insertion. Secondly, we have invented a stable, non-enzymatic optical glucose sensing platform. We recently developed a dual junction photodiode within a silicon MEMS substrate which can be integrated with commercially available LEDs into a single on-body, fluorescent-based glucose sensing device. Thirdly, we have harnessed a decade of nanofluidic electrokinetic research to develop an insulin delivery strategy that can enable a sleek, thin, fluidic patch pump. Specifically, we use bipolar electrodes to create concentration gradients in ionic fluids sufficient to create pressures for continuous, harmless electrokinetic based pumping. We are now developing these technologies to enable painless, minimally invasive, small form-factor CGM and micropump devices which, coupled with existing algorithms, could revolutionize glucose management.
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