An Alabama company is developing an innovative device to help diabetics better manage their blood sugar, and it is being shown this week at the world’s largest consumer technology event.
Birmingham-based AerBetic Inc. will demonstrate its non-invasive, wearable diabetes alert system at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, which showcases more than 4,500 manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, content and delivery systems. CES 2019, which begins today and runs through Friday, is expected to draw more than 180,000 attendees.
The device contains nano-sensors that detect gases, given off through breath or skin, that are symptoms of high or low blood sugar. It will pair with smartphone apps, aiding the ability to push alerts to patients and caregivers.
AerBetic CEO and entrepreneur Arnar Thors said his family pet, a yellow Lab that came from a place that trains alert animals, inspired the device.
“Many diabetics rely on the keen smell of specially trained dogs to detect increases of volatile organic compounds in the exhaled breath of their subjects with diabetes,” Thors said. “We have developed a wearable solution that will detect these same gas patterns.
“The ability to determine a patient’s status without the need for invasive and costly sensors will enable a higher quality of life for diabetes patients and their caregivers worldwide.”
‘Game-changer’ for diabetics
The sensors will use patient data and feedback to improve and fine tune over time, Thors said, using machine learning and artificial intelligence to increase fidelity at the individual user level and network-wide.
“The more a patient uses it, the more attuned to that patient it becomes,” he said.
The tiny sensors used in the device are designed and manufactured by California-based AerNos, which is sharing a booth with AerBetic at CES.
The device is in the final stages of development, with testing to begin early in the first quarter of this year. The first production units are expected to ship late this year or early next year.
It’s being hailed as a “game changer” for diabetics.
“Type 1 diabetics – and caregivers of Type 1 diabetics – have been asking for a non-invasive monitoring solution for some time,” said Kristen Noles, DNP, RN, CNL and nurse leader at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “AerBetic’s vision of incorporating a gas sensor that improves and gets smarter over time will be a game changer. The ability to reliably monitor patients remotely will drastically improve the quality of life for people with diabetes and their caregivers.”
Thors is the co-founder of Bessemer-based Fitz-Thors Engineering Inc., which started in 2007 and specializes in design-build engineering projects, automation and high-precision manufacturing services.
He holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Alabama and worked in several industries before deciding to become an entrepreneur. He has a broad range of experience in areas including crude oil refining, medical product development, race car design and development, and the manufacturing of cast iron pipe, steel pipe and electronics.
Alabama has a healthy pipeline of innovative products that solve problems and offer new alternatives in a number of industries, said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“There’s a vibrant network of entrepreneurs and support programs in communities across Alabama, and we’re excited to see what they come up with next,” Canfield said. “We congratulate AerBetic on the development of this device, and we look forward to the benefits it will provide for people around the world.”
This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.