We have frequently covered continuous glucose monitor (CGM) systems, including Dexcom CGM, sugarBEAT, and  Senseonics Eversense Continuous Glucose Monitoring System. Rarely have we covered a CGM system that monitors diabetes-important parameters other than glucose itself. 

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a prototype that resembles a mini-lab on your skin and continuously monitors three health signals: blood glucose, alcohol, and lactate levels from muscle fatigue during a workout. It’s a small device almost the size of a stack of six quarters. The prototype can easily be attached to the skin without any pain, using its Velcro-like patch of microneedles. 

Customers wearing the device can monitor changes in blood glucose as a result of exercise and alcohol intake. People with diabetes can specifically benefit from alcohol monitoring as drinking too much can lower blood glucose levels. Similarly, monitoring muscle fatigue through lactate levels is useful as physical activity affects the body’s regulation of glucose. 

The device is worn on the upper arm and sends data to a custom smartphone app. The device contains a microneedle patch connected to an electronic plate. The microneedles penetrate the skin and interact with interstitial fluid. There are enzymes on the tip of microneedles and they interact with glucose, alcohol, and lactate in the interstitial fluid. The interaction generates electric currents, which are then analyzed by electronic sensors on the plate and the results are communicated wirelessly to the app on the smartphone. 

The prototype is easily charged. Any wireless charging pad used for phones and smartwatches is compatible with it. A new startup called AquilX has been founded to further develop this technology. There is a possibility of adding more features to monitor other biometric measures and medication levels.