New Jewelry Could Help Diabetics, Eliminate Syringes

By Boonsri Dickinson | May 19, 2009 6:22 pm

diabetes-neckpiece.jpgScientists typically design their devices for function rather than fashion. For designers, it’s the other way around. But now, jewelry designer Leah Heiss is looking to combine the two. In fact, she’s been working with scientists to make several scientific gadgets pretty enough to be worn as accessories.

While completing a residency at Nanotechnology Victoria in Australia, Heiss created jewelry that diabetic patients can use to inject insulin—sort of like the insulin tattoo, only a bit more design-oriented. The medical jewelry is currently being developed in several countries, including the U.S., and could free diabetic patients from syringes forever—but first it’ll have pass clinical trials.

Heiss designed the insulin delivery jewelry—a necklace and a ring—as a two-piece set meant to be worn together. The necklace holds NanoMAPs insulin patches made of small needles. The wearer can apply the patch to the skin on the person’s finger, thereby delivering insulin in low doses. The ring must be worn to hold the patch in place. And for men, the jewelry isn’t gender specific though—men can use the necklace as a keychain.

Heiss has also created a personal purification system called the Arsenic Water Vessel that would be useful to anyone traveling to arsenic-contaminated places like India and Bangladesh. The necklace is the repository for mesoporous iron oxide, the key particles that remove contaminants from water. The particles are poured into the filter system above the water bottle, ensuring that any water that passes through comes out arsenic free. There’s even an electroluminescent cable attached, so you can purify your water at night.

Who knows, the diabetes and water purification necklaces might even wind up working together, since arsenic in tap water is a risk factor for diabetes.

Related Content:
Discoblog: Now in Development: A Tattoo That Could Save Your Life
DISCOVER: Genetic DNA

Image: Leah Heiss

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