Afon, a Welsh based company, is working on a non-invasive glucose sensor that has the potential to revolutionize the way blood glucose levels are monitored.
We’ve heard these types of promises before, but are yet to see something materialise into a real-world product. With the development of optical sensors in the early 2010s, the concept of using technology to monitor glucose levels in a non-invasive manner was first brought up. Light is used by these sensors to obtain signals from beneath the skin. For several years, there has been discussion about incorporating such technology for glucose monitoring by smartwatches.
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Afon adopts an entirely different approach. Its blood glucose sensor is called Glucowear. It is an RF sensor that fits under the base of the wrist. The gizmo uses radio frequencies to obtain signals from beneath the skin. Unlike optical sensors this technology provides real-time monitoring with no time lag.
Hoping for a 2024 launch date
The company stated that they hope to have the device on the market by early 2024. This is an extremely optimistic goal given the stringent requirements imposed by health regulators. There is no information available on how well Afon is progressing with regulatory approval, and the company’s website makes no mention of the regulatory process.
So far the Afon Blood Glucose Sensor has undergone three rounds of testing at Profil, a world-renowned diabetes research center in Germany. A multi-phase trial of this technology will be conducted at Swansea University’s Joint Clinical Research Facility (JCRF) later in 2023. There will also be other multi-site trials before the device hits retail in 2024.
Indeed, the company made its presence felt at the recent 83rd Scientific Sessions organized by the ADA, where it appears they showcased a prototype of the Glucowear monitor, complete with its carrying cases, packaging, and a mobile charging stand.
Some of the advantages of this technology, as listed on the company’s website, include:
- Blood glucose monitoring in real time that is completely non-invasive and painless
- Continuous monitoring
- Identification of pre-diabetic individuals
- Alarm notifications, trend profiles, and time-in-range profiles are all available.
- Bluetooth communication with a smart device
- iOS and Android stand-alone sensor user interface via smart device app
- There are no additional operating expenses.
Glucowear delivers real-time continuous glucose monitoring through its wireless integration with a smart device. Designed to be placed under a user’s smartwatch, the sensor allows the said device to serve as an integral part of the monitoring system. Afon promotes the Glucowear as a comfortable wearable and ensures that the painless CGM has a battery lifespan of up to 14 days when fully charged.
The race to commercialize non-invasive glucose tracking is on
Afon’s technology is similar to that being tested by Movano for integration into its smart ring. The outfit is beginning blood pressure tracking trials before moving on to blood glucose later this year.
A significant milestone
The European Innovation Council (EIC) has given Afon Technology efforts a significant boost. They have recently awarded the company €2.4 million in funding in order to help accelerate their work.
If Afon is successful in bringing their product to market by 2024, it will be a significant milestone and step forward in the development of non-invasive glucose monitoring. It will not only eliminate the need for routine blood tests, but will also provide diabetics with a convenient and painless way to monitor their blood glucose levels.
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