Eco-friendly blood glucose monitor concept unveiled

Cambridge Consultants has developed a blood glucose monitor concept for diabetics that's simple to use, less cumbersome to carry and has a third of the environmental impact of traditional devices.

The concept is the latest result of 'Ecovation' - an approach developed by the company to integrate environmental considerations into its concept generation process. Using this approach, Cambridge Consultants conducted a life cycle assessment on a popular blood glucose monitor to identify which elements had the highest environmental impact and so should be the focus for innovation. It was identified that less than 5% of the environmental impact could be attributed to the monitor itself – with more than 70% due to the high number of single-use disposables that are consumed over the lifetime of the device. Ideas generated to reduce the environmental impact ranged from efficient packing of unused and used components, to the safe reuse of single-use lancets and test strips. The winning concept achieved a 65% reduction in environmental impact by integrating the functionality of three previously discrete consumables and getting the device to do the handling – not the user. The final challenge was then to create a single consumable cartridge which was both reliable and suitable for manufacturing. "What makes this concept so exciting is that, while it provides a sustainable alternative to the status quo, it also offers distinct usability advantages," said Andy Pidgeon, of the medical technology division at Cambridge Consultants. "We have long championed combining the safety and reliability of the medical development framework with the broader lens of a consumer experience approach in order to create solutions that patients use both safely and willingly. Adding environmental considerations into the design process through Ecovation provides a framework for a new breed of superior medical devices." The company says the approach employed in Ecovation can be applied to any type of product to reduce its overall environmental impact.