A microchip implanted in a tooth could make life easier for people with diabetes, since the device will allow measure sugar levels without the need to have to prick several times a day.
This technology, which is being developed by the Valencian doctor and dentist Salvador Albalat, will be connected through sensors and through radio frequencies to the mobile, where an application will save the data of both the glucose as of the temperature. The Valencian said that the idea came to him when he returned from a place with snow and thought: "Why not put a phone inside your mouth?".
Although at first he found that technologically it was "a little complicated"To place a microcircuit, when one day a diabetic patient who needed to be punctured in the middle of treatment went to his clinic, associated ideas between using the microchip as a laboratory" or as a measurement system for physiological variables"Then he started working on the project, made the patent and contacted in 2017 with an engineer from the Technological Institute of Zurich (Switzerland) who developed some first prototypes, which demonstrated the possibility of communication with the mobile and that could measure the temperature in real time.
"But the project was a lot more ambitious, was to measure glucose by the problem that diabetics suffer, "says Albalat, who confesses that it is a medical device:" I know it is a process long and expensive, because we are making a diagnosis in people. "Thanks to the support of the Center for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI), through the program Neotec, which supports the creation and consolidation of technology-based companies, have two years to develop this project, although in six months they could already try on The first prototypes.
Now they work with two engineers, one of them is an expert from India who has worked in the POT, in the Mars project, and has experience in this type of sensors, and also with the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Albalat has explained that the microchip, of artificial intelligence, will also allow data to be collected such as how much the patient is walking, what surface he travels or how many calories he consumes, information that can be recorded through the mobile and that in diabetic people will allow to predict when they will have variables in your glucose
The project is in a phase of developing "quite advanced", according to Albalat, which explains that it is a very important challenge" because placing the microchip inside the mouth in a saline environment (where there is saliva and there are many variables) has its complexity"The microchip, of a size of three by four millimeters, would be stuck in the tooth as a bracketorthodontics or it could also be placed using a splint of plastic that can be put on and taken off only at the moment when you want to measure the glucose level.
Both adults and children could use this technology, according to Albalat, who indicates that in principle, there is no contraindication in use "because it does not carry a battery" and works with radiofrequency. He has also ruled out that there may be rejection of the microchip material since, he explains, it is "like a bracket of orthodontics, it is totally inert. Chewing gum inside the mouth is almost more dangerous. "Also, do not rule out using the same microchip if the artificial intelligence system works well, eliminating all the errors you may have and placing it on your clothes, watch or other body parts.
Salvador Albalat says that they do not want to remain alone in glucose measurement, but in the future it will be a "mobile laboratory that allows continuous measurement many parameters, including cholesterol. "He also underlined the low cost of this microchip, since being microelectronic, It costs two or three dollars in mass productions, and once developed its goal is to be a social project and access to this technology be allowed to people without resources.
Overweight, poor physical activity and population growth have caused the number of people with diabetes to be quadruplicate in the last 39 years, with which the number of patients has reached 420 million, as estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO).