Kennesaw state researchers develop a non-invasive blood glucose monitoring process

KENNESAW, Ga. | September 21, 2022

As a child, Maria Valero witnessed her diabetic father pricking his finger several times a day to draw blood and check his glucose levels using an electronic monitor. She was concerned about the invasive and painful process, but she was also curious about the technology behind the device.

Maria Valero

“After seeing my father face him, I wanted to create something less invasive,” said Valero.

Assistant Professor of Information Technology at Kennesaw State College of Computing and Software Engineering (CCSE) and Director of IoT as a Service Research Group at KSU is working to improve the glucose monitoring process for millions of people across the world suffering from diabetes.

Using college funding and a lot of trial and error, Valero and his team have created a non-invasive process that can identify the exact blood glucose value with 90% accuracy without taking a blood sample. The GlucoCheck process uses light reflected through human tissue, into the ear or finger, and a small camera to capture images on the other side. Valero’s team then uses a model to study the amount of light absorption in those images to determine blood glucose concentration.

“Our pilot study was very successful,” he said. “We are excited about how this device will help people with diabetes, which affects about one in 10 people in the United States.”

Valero and his team recently filed a provisional patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to protect the process they created. Kennesaw State Office of Intellectual Property Development Director Chris Cornelison helped Valero sift research projects around the world to make sure the GlucoCheck process is unique and patentable.

“The way we collect and produce data is new and we will continue to work on ways to improve the glucose estimation model,” said Valero. So far the team has tested the process on nearly 50 people, but before filing a full patent next summer, they will evaluate how the process works on people with a range of pigmentations and skin thickness.

Valero’s students have already created a mobile application and are working to connect GlucoCheck to Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa.

“I am very fortunate to have great students who are extremely motivated and bring a wealth of knowledge to this project,” said Valero. “Seeing them grow up as researchers who want to make a difference in the world using technology is very rewarding.”

According to Paola Spoletini, interim associate dean of the CCSE, Valero’s commitment to his research is compounded by his dedication to his students.

“Dr. Valero is passionate about using technology to make a difference in the world and is an incredible resource for our College, “said Spoletini.” Not only is he developing cutting-edge technologies, but he also serves as a mentor and role model for his students. “.

In addition to his students, Valero worked closely with Hossain Shahriar, associate professor of information technology, and Katherine Ingram, associate professor of exercise science. Ingram is currently researching the risk of gestational diabetes, and Shahriar’s research focuses on health information technology, data analytics and cybersecurity. Their paper detailing the pilot study was recently accepted in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, and Valero used the data to apply for additional funding.

– Abbey O’Brien Barrows
Photo by Judy Pishnery

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two Atlanta metropolitan campuses, Kennesaw state is a member of the Georgia university system. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties, and entrepreneurial spirit attract students from across the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral (R2) research institution, which places it in an elite group of only 6% of US colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

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