Family & Lifestyle

AerBetic: A Digital Diabetes Dog

Overview Recognizing the pain and expense of traditional diabetes management approaches, the founders of AerBetic are leveraging the latest gas sensing technology to create a truly noninvasive and affordable diabetes wearable that acts like a digital diabetes alert dog.

Diabetes alert dogs are trained to use their acute sense of smell to alert their owners early of a peak or dip in blood sugar before it becomes dangerous. The founders of AerBetic, Arnar Thors and Eric Housh, thought up their wearable’s feature set by asking, “How does the diabetes alert dog do it?”

AerBetic is a noninvasive wearable diabetes monitor that passively and continuously monitors blood sugar levels, along with a partner app that allows the user to set up alert communications to a network of caregivers or health care providers.

To monitor changes in blood sugar levels, the AerBetic wearable uses a nano gas sensor, created by AerNos™, to detect certain gases that humans naturally emit at the ratios and ranges that scientists have identified as early indicators of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.

The Dog’s Nose Knows

The AerNos nano sensor is the core technology for the AerBetic wearable. Customized to address this specific application, the AerNos sensor acts like the dog’s nose, sensing multiple gases simultaneously and at the low detection levels needed to monitor blood sugar changes.

The nano sensor is also of the size and form factor necessary for a wearable device and has a low power requirement.

“This sensor is going to change lives, and the health care space is a great fit for that,” said Larry Eason, executive vice president of corporate strategy at AerNos, Inc.

The AerBetic app can allow parents of young kids or caregivers of older adults the ability to keep an eye on blood sugar levels at any time

Arnar Thors
President and CEO, Aerbetic

Getting to Know You

Just as diabetes detection dogs are trained to detect blood sugar extremes for a specific individual, AerBetic also offers this personalized monitoring, using machine learning to improve its accuracy over time.

When the AerBetic wearable alerts the user to a change in blood sugar levels, the person with diabetes can use a blood glucose monitor and then input his or her glucose levels into the AerBetic app. Using machine learning, the AerBetic system uses that additional data to help the device learn their unique breath signature.

The more data gathered over time, the higher the fidelity of the blood sugar monitoring for that individual.

“The more you interact with AerBetic, the more data you feed back into the system, the more useful the device is going to be for you,” Thors said.

“As the individuals enter their blood glucose level numbers into the AerBetic app, we’re also able to apply machine learning to make the sensor network as a whole smarter as well.” 

Alerting You to Danger

When a diabetes alert dog senses that its owner has rapidly increasing or dropping blood sugar levels, it paws or nudges in a significant way.

With AerBetic, the wearable vibrates and blinks LED lights to alert the individual, and it also sends a Bluetooth communication to the phone app. The AerBetic app can be set up to notify the individual — and whomever was designated as an additional monitor, such as a caretaker or physician.

“The AerBetic app can allow parents of young kids or caregivers of older adults the ability to keep an eye on blood sugar levels at any time and know the person with diabetes is managing it to stay within the healthy trend,” Housh said. “It will give a lot of comfort to parents and caregivers.”

Introducing AerBetic at CES

At CES 2019, Thors and Housh unveiled AerBetic to a global and highly interested audience,which validated their product idea and energized them to fine-tune the software and formulation.

“We left the show blown away with the response we received. It gave us the validation to push the throttle on this and try to accelerate it,” Thors said.

They’re returning to CES 2020 with a product that’s closer to beta testing, and they are preparing to start testing in stages with the approximately 1,600 people who have volunteered from around the world.

Gas Sensors Have Myriad Potential for Health Care Applications

AerNos nano sensors are also being used to monitor air quality on a broader level: 

  • AerBand Research is designed to provide data points for research on the effects of air quality on health, and AerNos is working with top-tier research institutions to support studies.

  • AerIoT monitors indoor and outdoor air quality, and applications include smart cities all the way down to individual homes. 

“We know that the data, and the kinds of applications that you can build on top of that data, are going to be enormously helpful for health and wellness,” Eason said.

One example of a health care application of this air quality monitoring is for people with asthma. With data about the inhalation of different levels of gases, scientists can learn more about asthma triggers and factors that contribute to the onset of the disease.

“Everything we’re doing on the environmental side has health ramifications,” Eason said.

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