You may soon be able to buy a sticky patch that can help you improve your fitness by keeping tabs on your blood glucose, ketones, lactate, and alcohol levels through a tiny probe under your skin. The Abbott Lingo is a series of consumer 'biowearables' announced at CES 2022, and will use tech originally developed to help people with diabetes manage their condition.
Abbott made its name with the FreeStyle Libre – a continuous blood glucose monitor that consist of an adhesive patch that's placed on your arm, with a sensor that sits just under your skin. It measures glucose in the interstitial fluid between cells, reducing the need for finger-prick tests. You can check your glucose level on your phone any time, and set custom alarms if it rises too high or drops too low.
The company then moved into sports tech with the Abbott Libre Sense Glucose Sport Biosensor. This works in the same way, but unlike the FreeStyle Libre, it's not a medical device, and is instead intended to help athletes without diabetes understand how their body uses glucose during exercise so they can tailor their refuelling plan accordingly.
Speaking your language
The Lingo sensors (so named because they "speak your body's language") go a step further, not only keeping tabs on blood glucose, but also monitoring ketones, lactate, and alcohol. They won't be medical devices and are instead intended to guide you towards healthier lifestyle choices.
Ketones are substances produced by your liver when it breaks down fats for energy rather than using carbohydrates, and measuring them will be useful for anyone attempting to lose weight with a ketogenic diet.
Lactate is produced during exercise, and Abbott says that tracking it will allow athletes to measure buildup during exercise and improve recovery time.
Finally, tracking blood alcohol will let you make better decisions, and the company's CEO Robert Ford suggests that it could one day be connected directly to your car's computer system and prevent you from starting the engine if your alcohol level is too high.
The Lingo sensors are still in development, and there's no suggested price or release date yet, but we'll be following Abbott's progress over the coming months and years, and will keep you updated when we know more.
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