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The Future of Non-invasive Blood Glucose Monitoring


Living with diabetes

Diabetes has been a documented medical condition for more than 3,000 years. In comparison, the journey of diabetes technology has been a relatively short but life-changing one. In less than 100 years, diabetes has gone from being a certain fatal illness to one that can be managed, allowing people with diabetes to be able to lead near to normal active healthy lives when their condition is well managed. The technology and discoveries from people all over the world have helped children and adults live longer lives (1).

For years, people with diabetes have had to do finger pricks to check their blood glucose levels, a vital part of living with diabetes. This helps them work out if they need to take more medication, when to eat something, or for when they want to move more (2).

More recently, new devices have been developed to offer continuous glucose monitoring, automatically estimating blood glucose levels throughout the day and night (3).

Welsh tech firm Afon Technology is a leading innovator in the field of healthcare technology. Here we take a closer look at how the Monmouthshire-based firm is aiming to revolutionise blood glucose monitoring through the development of a non-invasive device which will transform the daily experiences of individuals living with diabetes.

The journey of diabetes management, monitoring and technology

Monitoring blood glucose levels has come a long way from the days before insulin was discovered, when a liquid formula of copper was heated with the individual’s urine to check glucose levels.

In 1965 a method of testing using blood was invented. A drop of blood would be placed on a test strip and the colour would change, indicating the levels of glucose in the blood.

In the 1980s the first home monitor was launched, allowing people with diabetes to test their levels at home.

The first continuous glucose monitor (CGM) was introduced in 1999, with this method of monitoring proving to popular. New devices were developed which notified users of potentially dangerous blood glucose levels in real time.

The next discovery was that blood glucose levels can be measured through a needle into the skin, with readings taken from the fluid between cells just under your skin, known as interstitial fluid. This meant that CGMs could be attached to the skin for a few days at a time. In 2012 it became possible for the information to be viewed on a mobile phone.

Afon Technology: A ‘game-changer’ in the future of continuous blood glucose monitoring

New CGM devices have recently come on the market which are minimally invasive, but nonetheless still invasive.

The multi-skilled team at Afon Technology are working on a ground-breaking, non-invasive technology which will turn any smart watch into a glucose monitor.

The team have developed a sensor, Glucowear™, which will sit on the underside of the wrist, attached to the user’s watch strap.

Glucowear™ uses low power RF/microwave technology to track and record changes in blood glucose levels, in real time. The sensor will feed back to a companion app on a smart device to communicate blood glucose readings immediately, making diabetes management easier than ever before.

This needle-free technology will give accurate and real time results all day, every day, without the need for daily finger-pricking. Glucowear™ will remove a huge degree of pain as well as hassle from the lives of people with diabetes – it has been calculated that people with diabetes have to make an extra 180 decisions every day around their diabetes management! Glucowear™ removes a huge amount of stress from their decision making.

Glucowear™ removes the need to replace the device after a short time period, and there is no risk of the device falling off or being caught by an item of clothing. It’s one less thing that needs to be replaced or ordered every month.

Afon Technology is currently putting its sensor through rigorous testing and trials with plans to start selling the device in 2024.


Afon Technology, is a small team based in South Wales tackling one of the biggest technology challenges in the world of diabetes: non-invasive, continuous, blood glucose monitoring.

The team headed up by founder and microwave engineer, Dr Sabih Chaudhry is on a mission to develop the world’s first truly non-invasive continuous glucose monitor (CGM), Glucowear®. The wearable device will sit on the underside of the user’s wrist and using very low-powered frequency waves will measure blood glucose levels which will then be communicated back to a companion app on the user’s smartphone.

Game-changing technology
Dr Chaudhry has been dedicated to bringing this much-needed technology to life for many years but it was only in 2015 that he was able to secure substantial investment to allow him to build up a team to help with this hugely challenging feat. It was whilst working on a cancer treatment technology also using low-powered RF/microwaves that Dr Chaudhry had what he calls his ‘Heath Robinson’ moment with a friend when they realised that microwaves could be used to detect changes in biological constituents.

Afon Technology now employees a number of highly skilled and experienced engineers and regulatory experts who are working together to bring this device to market. The company has been recognised on a number of occasions for its innovative and ground-breaking work, most recently by being awarded a European Innovation Council Accelerator Grant of €2.4million. The company is currently preparing the device for further clinical trials in order to secure CE marking.

Meeting the challenge
Diabetes is a global pandemic with 537 million adults living with the condition, a number predicted to rise to 643 million by 2030. In Wales alone, caring for people with diabetes costs NHS Wales £500 million per year.

Diabetes technology and treatment has come a long way in the last 100 years with current CGMs enabling people with diabetes the ability to self-manage their condition with much more control and information. However, at best they are minimally invasive and not accessible to all living with diabetes. Health complications due to poorly managed diabetes are serious and can be life threatening. A truly non-invasive glucose monitoring device is what so many of the diabetes community and healthcare professionals have been waiting for.

The scale of this challenge is obvious and a number of the ‘big’ tech giants haven’t even been able to come up with a solution yet. The team at Afon is excited and hopeful that they will be able to say the very first ‘non-invasive CGM’ was developed in Wales.


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