From heart rate to sleep quality and calories burned, wearable technology can provide users with a whole host of information. A new wearable is going one step further, tracking how your body responds to different foods.
Developed by Melbourne startup Nutromics, the world’s first personalised, wearable nutrition smart patch will painlessly measure key dietary biomarkers.
By allowing users to personalise their diets, it has the potential to reduce the risk of lifestyle-related chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes.
How does it work?
The smart patch will use a microneedle-based technology platform, coupled with advanced materials and biosensors, to access interstitial fluid painlessly. The device will measure dietary biomarkers such as glucose, which the wearer can access on an app.
A team including Nutromics, RMIT University, Griffith University, Romar Engineering and the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) is currently working on the technology, conducting research and developing the manufacturing capabilities to manufacture a pilot device.
Griffith University and Romar Engineering will lead the fabrication of sample collection, while RMIT will undertake sensor integration and stretchable electronics fabrication.
“This smart patch is a significant evolution in wearable health monitoring technology,” said Professor Sharath Sriram, Research Co-Director of RMIT’s Functional Materials and Microsystems Research Group.
“Current wearable technologies can track your heart rate and steps, but they can’t monitor your health at a molecular level. This new technology goes deeper, targeting the precise biomarkers that drive lifestyle-related diseases.”
The $6.9 million project is set to build Australia’s capability in medical technologies manufacturing, boosting the competitiveness of the advanced manufacturing sector.
“The manufacturing challenges addressed by this project will not only help deliver a low-cost, high-tech smart patch, but will also create technologies that are transferable to other Australian companies in the consumer and medical tech space,” IMCRC CEO and Managing Director David Chuter said.
And, with an estimated one million Australian adults living with Type 2 diabetes in 2017-18, this new technology could be a significant step forward in the fight against one of the world’s biggest chronic health challenges.
“Research has shown that what we eat affects us all differently; two people might have the same meal but their post-meal response can vary wildly,” Nutromics co-CEO Peter Vranes said.
“People want to make healthy food choices but with so much conflicting nutrition advice, many of us are confused about what that looks like.
“Being able to easily monitor key dietary biomarkers will give you the knowledge to personalise your diet to suit your own body, to get healthy and stay healthy.”
In the future, the device could be adapted for other molecular-level health monitoring, such as stress management, sleep health and early stage viral detection.