A team in South Korea is inventing a wearable device that will help to keep diabetes under control and will eliminate the everyday finger prick. This graphene smart patch will be worn around the wrist, and can sense when blood sugar is either too high or too low through sweat. In response, the wires connected to the “portable electrochemical analyser”(New Scientist) will release the right amount of chemicals into the body when needed.
There are three points I’d like to emphasize in this article. For starters, the article states that “When the device is worn, the microneedles pierce the skin, reaching the subcutaneous tissue”(New Scientist) and goes on to say that at this level, the microneedles are too small to cause pain. I think this is important because I feel as if lot of new technologies might overlook the idea of pain and would just think on the level of how effective the product is. So the fact that pain level is taken into account is very significant.
Another thing I’d like to point out is that “One problem is that the doses of drug needed in humans are too big to be delivered by the patch”(New Scientist). With this being said, will the patch even work? It is concerning to me that if the medicine cannot be delivered, the patch will be useless or not as effective as necessary.
Thirdly, I find it important that “It was also tested on two healthy men, showing that its glucose measurements are accurate and correlate well with blood concentrations”(New Scientist). This is useful information because it shows that the device works on all people, and keeps their blood at a healthy level--not just those affected with diabetes. And it shows that the device does not affect people with healthy blood concentrations negatively either.
However, there are a few items I believe were overlooked in this article. Firstly, it is not mentioned anywhere in the article whether or not the patch is waterproof, or able to be slept in. This could be a major concern for people depending on using and wearing this device everyday. Secondly, the article provides the information that more “than 300 million people around the world have type 2 diabetes”(New Scientist), however this does not address the other millions of people who have type 1 diabetes. As a result, this graphene smart patch might not be as useful as scientists are hoping. And finally, no ages were mentioned in this article, and it makes me wonder at what age they will start to implement these smart patches and at what age they are safe to be used. This could be a concern for many people and might reduce the number of smart patches in circulation if this is not researched further.
With all of this being said, I believe that with some more research and trial and error, this smart patch could really save lives.