A team of geniuses at Rutgers University—New Brunswick has created a technology that may represent the wave of the future in health monitoring devices.

Described as a smart wristband, their device is equipped with a biosensor that can monitor the counts of one's blood cells and determine whether an individual is suffering from a whole range of diseases — both acute and chronic. Its Bluetooth capabilities allow the data to be transmitted to a user's smartphone for analysis and action.

"We took this instrument, which is normally a big, bulky desktop or bench-top instrument that you have in centralized lab facilities or in hospitals, and we shrunk it all down to something that can fit on a wristband," Mehdi Javanmard, principal investigator on the project, told New Jersey 101.5.

Javanmard said blood cell counts are very important when determining the presence of many diseases, such as certain cancers like leukemia.

Current wearable devices, such as a Fitbit, can monitor one's heart rate and physical activity. But the technology created by Javanmard's team, detailed online in a scientific journal, takes real-time tracking to another level.

In its current stage, their device does not supply a continuous reading. Blood samples are obtained through pinpricks, and the blood is fed through a channel — thinner than the diameter of a human hair — where the blood cells are recognized and counted.

"There is not on the market any device that you can wear that can do a complete blood cell count for you and then transmit data wirelessly to your smartphone and display it," Javanmard said.

Looking ahead, Javanmard said the technology has the potential to be added to wearable devices that are currently out there, or it could exist as a product of its own.

To hit the market as is, he said, the product would need much fewer regulatory approvals compared to a more developed version that would continuously read one's blood cell counts with the use of mincroneedles implanted into the subject.

Javanmard said the device can be used for environmental monitoring as well — testing the presence of bacteria or air pollutants, for example.

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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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