Juan Leonardo Martinez Hurtado, graduate from the Polytechnic National Institute (IPN), developed a smartphone app that interprets colorimetric tests to figure levels of blood glucose; an important contribution for diabetes and kidney failure diagnosis.
The graduate of the IPN’s Interdisciplinary Professional Unit of Biotechnology (Upibi) concluded his doctoral studies in Biotechnology at Cambridge University, in the United Kingdom.
Martinez Hurtado developed the first version of this app, a portable tool capable of providing fast and reliable colorimetric analysis results, commonly used for blood and urine samples. With this project, he gained his place as one of the Mexicans Young Innovators under 35; awarded by the MIT Technology Review Magazine, Spanish Edition.
The Polytechnic graduate explained that the application, called Colorimetrix, performs the spectrophotometer function. This uses sensors, similar to those of digital cameras, to detect photons in different energy ranges that correspond to specific colours or wavelengths of electromagnetic spectrum; indicating the substance of interest quantity, based in the present sample.
Colorimetric test strips can help to diagnose and monitor many diseases. They are inexpensive and easy to use; however, it is challenging to interpretive the results. According with the IPN, this tool has a great potential in the health field; as it facilitates the diagnosis of chronic diseases like diabetes and kidney failure, among others.
The app figures the colorimetric test strips, it works in several smartphone models and allows easy sharing of readings with healthcare providers; facilitating remote diagnosis, said Martinez Hurtado. He also noted that the information about changes in glucose concentration, given by this tool, is sufficiently accurate to yield relevant values for diagnosis and much faster that spectrophotometer testing. He explained that once the sample is taken in the colorimetric strip, the app detects the colour and location of the strip lines through the handset camera; which is then sent to the specialist for interpretation.
This innovation, added Martinez Hurtado, has the advantage of being comparable in accuracy to commercial colorimetric readers. The tests results are obtained in seconds, it is for personal use, quick, safe, with immediate access to cloud connection, inexpensive, easy to use while commuting or in remote places, it does not need external power supply and allows test data safe transmission and storage.
Juan Leonardo Martinez Hurtado is currently working for the Quantum Photonics Department at the Faculty of Physics in the Technical University of Munich, Germany. He will be there for a year to work in new research projects. Simultaneously, he is planning to develop a new company to commercialize the Colorimetrix’s technology.