Diabetes Has a New Enemy: Robo-Pancreas

Sensors, actuators, and algorithms can automatically control blood sugar

9 min read
Photo of Brian Herrick
Blood Sugar, Online: Brian Herrick tracks the ups and downs of glucose in his bloodstream with a Dexcom system—a skin-hugging sensor that communicates via Bluetooth with a handheld monitor.
Photo: David Yellen

The first great wonder drug was insulin, the blood-sugar-regulating hormone that was isolated in Canada nearly a century ago. The before-and-after pictures still astound: a skeletal wraith on the left, a rosy-cheeked child on the right.

But the promise of insulin has yet to be fulfilled. Normally, the pancreas, an organ near the liver, secretes insulin to control the concentration of glucose in the blood. In patients with type 1 diabetes—once known as juvenile diabetes because it’s usually diagnosed in children—the pancreas makes no insulin of its own, so those with the disease must work hard to mimic that organ’s function. If blood sugar goes too low, the patient faints; if it goes too high, it poses long-term risks to the eyes, nerves, and arteries. So several times a day the patient must prick a finger to test blood sugar, make a calculation based on planned meals and exercise, and adjust the injection of insulin to account for it all. The burden of self-management goes on night and day.

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Stephen Welby: A Man on a Mission

The departing executive director steered IEEE through a pandemic and open access publishing

6 min read
A smiling man in a suit and glasses
Brad Trent

In his five years as IEEE’s executive director and chief operating officer, Stephen Welby has led the organization through a global pandemic, a changing publishing landscape, and soaring geopolitical tensions. Welby, an IEEE Fellow, is leaving at the end of the year to spend more time with his family while he explores his career options. The IEEE Board of Directors has named Sophie Muirhead, IEEE's current general counsel and CCO, as his replacement.

Welby directs the daily operations of IEEE and its approximately 1,000 employees. While the IEEE Board of Directors sets the organization’s policies and strategic direction, the executive director’s job is to implement them and provide input about issues affecting the organization’s future.

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Robo-Ostrich Sprints to 100-meter World Record

Oregon State University’s Cassie is fastest bipedal robot ever to run the 100-meter dash

2 min read
A robot with two orange ostrich-like legs and no torso sprints along a running track

For a robot that shares a leg design with the fastest-running bird on the planet, we haven’t ever really gotten a sense of how fast Agility Robotics’ Cassie is actually able to move. Oregon State University’s Cassie successfully ran a 5k last year, but it was the sort of gait that we’ve come to expect from humanoid robots—more of a jog, really, with measured steps that didn’t inspire a lot of confidence in higher speeds. Turns out, Cassie was just holding back, because she’s just sprinted her way to a Guinness World Record for fastest 100-meter run by a bipedal robot.

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Modeling Microfluidic Organ-on-a-Chip Devices

Register for this webinar to enhance your modeling and design processes for microfluidic organ-on-a-chip devices using COMSOL Multiphysics

1 min read
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Comsol

If you want to enhance your modeling and design processes for microfluidic organ-on-a-chip devices, tune into this webinar.

You will learn methods for simulating the performance and behavior of microfluidic organ-on-a-chip devices and microphysiological systems in COMSOL Multiphysics. Additionally, you will see how to couple multiple physical effects in your model, including chemical transport, particle tracing, and fluid–structure interaction. You will also learn how to distill simulation output to find key design parameters and obtain a high-level description of system performance and behavior.

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