Interview with Stefano Valenzi, inventor of GlucoScanner
GlucoScanner was invented by Dynamic Brain Labs LLC in Tokyo, Japan and developed by Stefano Valenzi and Peter Jurica.
Hi Dr. Valenzi, how was this project born?
I was working as a neuroscientist for the Japanese government and I was studying physiological parameters related to emotions such as cortisol and glucose levels that provide information on stress, distress and fatigue.
In the meantime, my father got diabetes and through him I discovered how painful and annoying was the finger pricking process. So I started to investigate alternative painless way to measure glucose.
How does the device work?
GlucoScanner is a non-invasive device for blood glucose levels monitoring that employs optical technology and other physiological information. One of GlucoScanner secret is an innovative signal processing methods. GlucoScanner employs non-standard light frequencies in the infrared spectrum. Dynamic Brain Labs has developed a new way to assess tissue light absorption data. The device combines light absorption information with other physiological data and individual physical features; thus allowing the research team to solve some of the well-known problems linked to optical technology, such as differences in skin pigmentations. A simple automated calibration procedure performed on individuals’ fingers will guide the user through the GlucoScanner setup in order to optimize the device performance.
When will it be available?
As soon as we will finish the clinical testing stage. In May we will be ready to start our pilot clinical study using a miniaturized device. Consequently we will proceed with a large scale testing in medical facilities to improve our product performance and raise the user experience as much as possible. Initially we relied on a Indiegogo campaign to raise the necessary funds to get on the market.
Indiegogo community did not provide the funds we needed, nevertheless a US company came to our Tokyo laboratory to test our prototype. Thanks to them, we got the necessary funds to miniaturize and manufacture our product, and possibly we made that process even faster and more efficient than what we were expecting.
Is your technology accurate?
We have been conducting many studies during our GlucoScanner development. Data was analyzed between and within subject, and in many cases we collected thousands of measures. Eventually we started to employ external companies to recruit the necessary number of volunteers needed for our tests. However, to be able to provide final numbers and furthermore to be approved we have to wait for a manufactured device. So far our tests have been conducted with prototypes assembled in our laboratories. The results are more than promising and very close, if not already overlapping, with over the counter glucometers used as reference. Further, we are confident that a manufactured device will perform even better than our current prototypes.
What’s the feedback from doctors been like, generally? And what’s next for the rest of 2018 and after?
Our project has been welcomed by many doctors and associations with our common objectives: to help diabetics improving their glucose management and to assist them in leading a healthier life.We have managed to reduce the device size, which is now smaller than a mobile phone, in order to dramatically improve the diabetics’ life.
We are evaluating the participation in fairs and events in the medical and innovation fields. Moreover, in June we are expecting to communicate the results of our first clinical trial carried out in Canada.
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Stefano is a creative problem solver with expertise in healthcare and technological solutions. He is a physiologist, with training from La Sapienza University of Rome, expertise in EEG, emotions, biosignals and cognitive science. He has developed numerous innovative methods, from a number of international collaborative studies mostly aimed at study of emotion, aging, cognitive skill development and general health care. In 2008 he moved to Japan and started to work at RIKEN Brain Science Institute. He started his transition from academia to industry in 2014 as a R&D specialist. Then he co-founded the Dynamic Brain Lab aiming to create innovative, non invasive, healthcare and medical monitoring devices.