What you need to know
An innovative wearable medical device designed by two Taiwanese students has the potential to help millions of diabetics around the world.
Two Taiwanese students are hoping to commercialize what they believe is a revolutionary wearable device for diabetics.
Circle Life was invented by National Taipei University of Technology (NTUT) industrial design students Lin Yi-xiang (林詣翔) and Yeh Chia-yu (葉家渝).
Using traditional devices, diabetics have to frequently puncture their skin with needles to take blood samples and shooting insulin.
“After seeing relatives and friends suffering from diabetes, we wanted to do something to relieve their pain,” Lin told The News Lens International (TNLI). “We found out that diabetics use different devices to deal with their illness, including blood glucose meters, glucose test strips, blood lancets, insulin shots, insulin needles, and so on.”
Circle Life combines several newly-developed technologies, including a non-invasive low current blood glucose sensor and insulin patches with micro-needles for injections. It can also be paired with a health monitoring mobile application.
The design has won several awards, including Germany’s Best of the Best award of Red Dot Design Awards 2016 and Taiwan’s 2015 Great Design Competition. However, because it incorporates several technologies that are protected by patents in Japan and the U.S, the pair are unable to move immediately to commercialization.
“Luckily, since we won the Red Dot awards, there are some related companies interested in our design and are willing to cooperate with us to commercialize this product,” Lin said.
According to a forecast by CCS Insight, more than 400 million smart wearable devices, worth US$34 billion will be sold in 2020.
The U.K market analysis firm said the wearables market was already poised to reach US$14 billion in revenue from 123 million units this year. It was particularly upbeat about the potential for the wrist-worn section of the wearables market.
“Wrist-worn devices continue to be the trailblazers in the wearables market, with fitness, activity and sports trackers accounting for almost half of all shipments in the next 12 months, at more than 60 million units; smartwatch sales are expected to exceed 30 million units.”
According to the World Health Organization, the number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. In 2012, there were a 1.5 million deaths directly caused by the disease and another 2.2 million deaths attributed to high blood glucose. Diabetes occurs when either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. The disease is also a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks and strokes.
First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole