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Tiny injectable sensor for long-term alcohol monitoring

Press Trust of India  |  Los Angeles 

Scientists have developed a miniature, ultra-low power injectable biosensor that could be used for continuous, long-term alcohol

The chip developed by engineers at the in the US is small enough to be implanted in the body just beneath the surface of the skin.

It is powered wirelessly by a wearable device, such as a smartwatch or patch.

"A tiny injectable sensor - that can be administered in a clinic without - could make it easier for patients to follow a prescribed course of for extended periods of time," said Drew Hall, a at the

Breathalysers, currently the most common way to estimate blood alcohol levels, are that require patient initiation and are not that accurate, noted.

A blood test is the most accurate method, but it needs to be performed by a

The new biosensor chip measures roughly one cubic millimetre in size and can be injected under the skin in interstitial fluid - the fluid that surrounds the body's cells.

It contains a sensor that is coated with alcohol oxidase, an enzyme that selectively interacts with alcohol to generate a byproduct that can be electrochemically detected.

The electrical signals are transmitted wirelessly to a nearby such as a smartwatch, which also wirelessly powers the chip.

Two additional sensors on the chip measure background signals and pH levels. These get cancelled out to make the alcohol reading more accurate.

The researchers designed the chip to consume as little power as possible - 970 nanowatts total, which is roughly one million times less power than a consumes when making a phone call.

"The ultimate goal of this work is to develop a routine, unobtrusive alcohol and drug device for patients in substance abuse treatment programs," said

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 11 2018. 14:50 IST
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