Just Over the Horizon: Bloodless Glucometers

Is it possible to check your blood sugar without a finger prick? Believe it or not, it might be possible in the not-so-distant future. Right now, there are several companies testing bloodless glucometers. One of them uses light to measure blood sugar in 20 seconds or less. While the landscape for this kind of technology is pretty bare at the moment, the companies out there with a real shot at bringing something to market have solid research behind them.

Grove Instruments

It seems incredible that you could use a bloodless glucometer to monitor your blood sugar, but that’s exactly what Grove Instruments promises. It’s newest creation involves its Optical Bridge technology, and uses near-infrared spectroscopy to measure your real-time blood sugar in just under 20 seconds.

The product doesn’t have any accessories, and it’s battery operated like a traditional meter. The difference is that all you have to do is place it on your fingertip or earlobe. The device is patented and the first of its kind. Grove expects its innovation to allow diabetics to more easily monitor their blood glucose levels and for doctors to more quickly screen people for diabetes and pre-diabetes.

How does it fare on accuracy? Well, its Optical Bridge technology already surpasses the rigorous ISO 15197 standard in clinical trials.

Integrity Applications

Integrity Applications has designed a device called “GlucoTrack.” The company claims its product works using three different types of technology – Ultra Sound, Electromagnetic, and Thermal. The results are correlated and then averaged using a patented algorithm.

One of the benefits of the device is that it can be used by up to three different people. Measurements are done via a Personal Ear Clip (PEC), and data can be uploaded to your computer using a USB cable so that you can backup all data if you so desire.

The device does occasionally require recalibration, but the company claims that this is infrequent – just once-monthly. Other than that, the ear clip does need to be replaced every 6 months.

Echo Therapeutics

Eco Therapeutics has developed what it called the “Symphony tCGM biosensor.” The device uses a transdermal sensor to continuously monitor blood glucose levels in diabetics. While the company has focused on critical care patients, it sees its device as being useful in the consumer market for diabetics.

After skin permeation with its device, a biosensor is placed on the site. After warming up, the Symphony wirelessly transmits the user’s blood glucose level every minute to a remote monitor. The monitor then keeps track of the glucose level and rate of glucose changes. It also provides visual and audible alarms if the user’s glucose levels and rate of change moves outside the target range.


OrSense uses SpectOLightTM Occlusion Spectroscopy technology to monitor users’ blood glucose levels without a needle. A ring-shaped sensor is worn over the user’s thumb (or any finger, really). Gentle pressure is applied by he ring, occluding blood flow in the finger. Its device used for diabetic testing was used on over 450 diabetic subjects. The results showed that it performed similar to invasive sensors common in the marketplace.

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