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Recently, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US has introduced a new technique that utilizes the magnetometer on standard cellphones to accurately measure blood glucose levels. Modern cellphones are equipped with magnetometers that function as compasses by detecting Earth’s magnetic field. Researchers have discovered a novel use for this feature in examining blood glucose concentrations and other biomarkers.

In their proof of concept study, the researchers attached a small container with a solution representing blood, and a hydrogel strip to the cellphone. Hydrogel is a porous material that expands when exposed to water. By incorporating magnetic particles into the hydrogel and modifying it to respond to glucose or pH levels, the researchers could detect changes in magnetic field strength using the phone’s magnetometer.

The NIST team believes that this technology could lead to cost-effective glucose monitoring solutions that are easily accessible. The smart hydrogels used in the study are affordable and simple to manufacture, making them potential candidates for commercial test kits that could be attached to smartphones for glucose level measurements. By utilizing existing smartphone technology, this approach offers a low-cost alternative to current glucose monitoring devices.

The study results have been published in the journal Nature Communications, showcasing the potential of using smartphones for innovative healthcare applications. This advancement could pave the way for convenient and affordable at-home monitoring of blood glucose levels, offering a promising solution for individuals with diabetes and other health conditions.

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