Computer vision app allows easier monitoring of diabetes

  Reading diabetes monitor  Credit: James Charles

A computer vision technology developed by University of Cambridge engineers has now been developed into a free mobile phone app for regular monitoring of glucose levels in people with diabetes.

The app uses computer vision techniques to read and record the glucose levels, time and date displayed on a typical glucose test via the camera on a mobile phone. The technology, which doesn’t require an internet or Bluetooth connection, works for any type of glucose meter, in any orientation and in a variety of light levels. It also reduces waste by eliminating the need to replace high-quality non-Bluetooth meters, making it a cost-effective solution to the NHS.

Working with UK glucose testing company GlucoRx, the Cambridge researchers have developed the technology into a free mobile phone app, called GlucoRx Vision, which is now available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

To use the app, users simply take a picture of their glucose meter and the results are automatically read and recorded, allowing much easier monitoring of blood glucose levels.

In addition to the glucose meters which people with diabetes use on a daily basis, many other types of digital meters are used in the medical and industrial sectors. However, many of these meters still do not have wireless connectivity, so connecting them to phone tracking apps often requires manual input.

“These meters work perfectly well, so we don’t want them sent to landfill just because they don’t have wireless connectivity,” said Dr James Charles from Cambridge’s Department of Engineering. “We wanted to find a way to retrofit them in an inexpensive and environmentally-friendly way using a mobile phone app.”

In addition to his interest in solving the challenge from an engineering point of view, Charles also had a personal interest in the problem. He has type 1 diabetes and needs to take as many as ten glucose readings per day. Each reading is then manually entered into a tracking app to help determine how much insulin he needs to regulate his blood glucose levels.

“From a purely selfish point of view, this was something I really wanted to develop,” he said.

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Image: Reading diabetes monitor

Credit: James Charles

Reproduced courtesy of the University of Cambridge


The University of Cambridge is acknowledged as one of the world's leading higher education and research institutions. The University was instrumental in the formation of the Cambridge Network and its Vice- Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, is also the President of the Cambridge Network.

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