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Earring-based diabetes system selected for Dyson design awards

An earring and inhaler form part of a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and insulin delivery system shortlisted for the prestigious James Dyson Award for design.

Australian student Frederique Sunstrum is named a finalist in the international awards for her system which links an earring containing a small chrome glucose sensor with a ‘mist’ insulin delivery device, which acts like an inhaler, and a smartphone app.

The project is called Continuity and has been named as one of 20 finalists for the design award. The award aims to celebrate, encourage and inspire the next generation of design engineers, with a total prize of £35,000 up for grabs.

At the moment, the system is a concept and is yet to be developed as a fully functioning product. If the project receives the right funding and support, it could be developed as a system to help people with type 1 diabetes.

Frederique, who is studying a PhD honours in industrial design at the University of New South Wales, explained: “The ear device utilises GlucoWise’s technology and applies it in a continuous 24/7 glucose monitoring earring device.

“One side of the device transmits radio-frequency waves through the earlobe, clearing the skin layers, generating a clear picture of the blood cells for the sensor to read the glucose levels on the other side of the earlobe. The device then vibrates to alert users of change in glucose levels and sends alerts to their phone to initiate action.”

The earring links to the handheld spray device through Bluetooth. The user then sprays insulin into the mouth where it is absorbed into the inner lining of the cheeks. There are safeguards to protect against misuse, including child lock features.

Explaining the design process, Frederique said: “It was evident in my research that there was a need for a system of devices that can communicate data to the user as well as healthcare professionals and family members so that progress can be tracked and monitored by all parties to reduce chances of complication.”

The concept has already been named as a Gold Winner in the Australian Good Design Awards.

All of the shortlisted entries will now be reviewed thoroughly by engineer and inventor James Dyson, who will then hand-pick the winner and up to two runners-up.

The results are expected to be announced on Thursday, November 14.

Photo: JamesDysonAward.org

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