This tiny chip uses A.I. to control sugar levels for critical diabetes patients without nurses present

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For critically ill diabetes patients, making sure their blood sugar levels are correct is crucial. If they drop then glucose needs to be administered, but if they rise too high then insulin is required.

Currently, this is done by nurses in hospitals, but one start-up has created an “artificial pancreas” that can automate the process, and it’s a chip that’s smaller than a thumbnail.

Boston, MA.-based Admetsys has created a solution that can constantly monitor blood sugar levels in real time. It’s artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm then triggers its software to either administer glucose or insulin via the drip that a patient is connected to.

The drip is connected to a screen. The screen shows the metrics for the patient.

“It is a laboratory on a chip. This is what will be able to replace what is in the laboratory,” Timothy Valk, co-founder of Admetsys, told CNBC in an interview that aired Friday.

The company’s solution doesn’t require human intervention. Valk said rather than lead to job losses in hospitals, it would help medical professionals focus on harder tasks.

“This device was suggested … by nurses. The nurses’ workload is astronomical. They need to be doing other things that are more appropriate for them, than running in and manually doing a glucose or drawing blood … their time is costly,” Valk said.

“We need to have automation work to improve the capacity for nurses and doctors to do the more appropriate, high risk needed jobs, and less of the manual techniques.”

Admetsys is part of the Dubai Future Accelerators program where start-ups work with various government agencies to come up with technology solutions.

Valk, who spoke with CNBC in Dubai, estimates that the technology can save a hospital around $8,000 per patient and reduce the amount of time that they would stay in intensive care.

Admetsys has currently done three successful clinical trials for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration which regulates medical technologies. It was required to keep blood sugar levels within a defined range for a period of time. Admetsys said that it is also going to carry out a clinical trial soon in Denmark which will help it be regulated in Europe. And it hopes that the FDA will give it approval within the year.

Valk said that regulators were becoming more open to new medical technologies.

“There is no doubt that as technology has advanced that they have become much more open,” he told CNBC.

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