01.01.2021

Personalising nutrition

A wearable smart patch could deliver precision data to help people personalise their diets and reduce their risk of developing lifestyle-related chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes.

The world-first personalised nutrition wearable being developed by Melbourne-based start-up Nutromics is designed to measure dietary biomarkers and send the information to an app, enabling users to precisely track how their bodies respond to different foods.

The pioneering technology will be designed and manufactured in Australia.

A collaborative team led by Nutromics, Griffith University, RMIT and manufacturer Romar Engineering, with support from the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC), is now researching and developing the required manufacturing capabilities to pilot manufacture the device.

Pre-diabetes is estimated to affect more than 350 million people globally; in the US and China alone, 1 in 2 adults are pre-diabetic or diabetic.

Nutromics co-CEO Peter Vranes said the smart patch leveraged emerging technologies to empower people to take greater control of their health.

“Being able to easily monitor key dietary biomarkers will give you the knowledge to personalise your diet to suit your own body, to get healthy and stay healthy,” Vranes said.

Diabetes is one of the largest chronic health challenges globally. Without taking any action, up to 70% of people with pre-diabetes can go on to develop Type 2 diabetes within the next four years, but with early interventions and lifestyle changes, the condition is largely preventable.

The fabrication of sample collection will be led by Griffith University and Romar Engineering, with sensor integration and stretchable electronics fabrication undertaken at RMIT’s Micro Nano Research Facility, an intrinsic hub of ANFF’s Victorian Node.

Research Co-Director of RMIT’s Functional Materials and Microsystems Research Group, Professor Sharath Sriram, said the smart patch combined a complex sensing platform and stretchable electronics for improved conformity to skin.

Professor Sriram said RMIT researchers would integrate the technologies in a prototype smart patch that could be cost- efficiently manufactured, and was designed with the end-user at front of mind. “This smart patch is a significant evolution in wearable health monitoring technology,” he said.

Professor Nam-Trung Nguyen, Director of the Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre at Griffith University and Deputy Director of ANFF-Q, said the project was underpinned by the centre’s past and ongoing fundamental research in microfluidics and wearable, implantable microsystems.

“One of the research pillars at the Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre is that we move towards the commercialisation and translation of our discoveries for the benefit of end users,” he said.

“The project will benefit significantly from the recent addition of a femto second laser machining system funded by the ARC.”

Alan Lipman, CEO of Romar Engineering, an established manufacturer of medical devices, said collaboration was the way forward for Australian manufacturing.

“Working with entrepreneurs, academics and researchers to develop new medical technologies is essential to maintain Australia’s international competitiveness and to build a strong domestic manufacturing skills base.”

THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY, FIND OUT MORE AT: NEWS.GRIFFITH.EDU.AU

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