17 January 2023
TRUMPF and RSP partner to miniaturize non-invasive wrist-worn blood glucose sensor
TRUMPF Photonic Components GmbH of Ulm, Germany (part of the TRUMPF Group) – which makes vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) and photodiodes for the consumer electronics, datacoms, industrial sensing, heating and automotive markets – and medical device company RSP Systems A/S of Odense, Denmark have partnered to create a sensor that will allow RSP’s non-invasive technology to be miniaturized to a wearable format. The aim to make life easier for people with diabetes. Instead of having to prick with a needle or wear an implant, in the future a wrist-worn device will read their glucose with a mini-laser.
TRUMPF brings its expertise in VCSELs. “With our knowledge of the mechanisms of photonics, we can soon enable people with diabetes to measure their blood glucose levels more easily, more cheaply and entirely without pain,” says TRUMPF Photonic Components’ CEO Berthold Schmidt. “This partnership once again shows the innovation potential of VCSEL technology,” he adds.
RSP Systems already has portable, optical sensor-based devices that can measure glucose levels – but in the size of a paperback book. “Touch glucose monitoring has been an ambition for device developers over the last three decades due to the vast implications for hundreds of millions of people, needing to keep an eye on their glucose levels,” says RSP Systems’ CEO Anders Weber. “Together with TRUMPF Photonic Components, we will realize a wrist-worn device, aimed to cover all uses from people on insulin therapy to people at risk for developing diabetes, literally hundreds of millions of people,” he adds. “Over the past 10 years, the company has developed an accurate, factory-calibrated and clinically proven glucose monitor that provides accurate glucose readings just by touching the skin and with no need for calibration.”
Measuring blood glucose with laser diodes
Diabetes has caused worldwide at least $966bn in healthcare expenditures to date. If the disease is not treated or is treated incorrectly, there is a risk of secondary diseases such as blindness, kidney failure or heart attack, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the International Diabetes Federation, about 540 million adults worldwide live with the metabolic disease diabetes, half of whom have not yet been diagnosed. The number of people affected is expected to rise to 643 million by 2030 and to 783 million by 2045. “If we are successful together, we will improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people,” says Schmidt.
TRUMPF Photonic Components’ lasers are already used in smartphones, smartwatches, digital data transmission and sensors for autonomous driving. “VCSEL lasers are clearing the way for a glucose sensor for your wrist – people with diabetes can thus keep an eye on their glucose levels at all times,” says Weber.