New technology could offer a simpler, less painful way to track people’s health.
Professor Heather Clark and her team from the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Northeastern University are developing ways in which to measure glucose and sodium levels in the body, without the standard finger-pricking and blood analysing techniques. By injecting a solution with nanoparticles into the skin, which bind to a target chemical, a modified iPhone case can allow any iPhone to read these “tattoos” using LEDs, which illuminate the particles’ fluorescent dye. The amount of fluorescence signifies the amount of a particular molecule such as sodium and these tattoos can be analyzed to measure and record the level. Clark and her graduate student Matt Dubach, who created the modified iPhone case, are hoping to develop an app that can measure and record sodium levels, as currently, they just use the iPhone to take an image of the fluorescence and transfer it to a computer for analysis.