happydog
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Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2021 4:57 pm
Occupation: Student

Diabetes Project Help

Postby happydog » Sat Jan 02, 2021 5:06 pm

Hello,

I am interested in the following science buddies project: https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science- ... as#summary

However, I want to make it my own by creating something that is more like an actual artificial pancreas. After doing research, I'm still not exactly sure how to do this. Any guidance or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Also, I was wondering if it would be possible to actually use a glucose powder solution and insulin rather than the baking soda and vinegar solutions the project suggests to use to represent them.


Thanks

Moderator note: I combined your 2 posts so the experts can see both of your questions. Thanks and good luck with your project.
Moderator again! I'm cross-posting your topic with the 9-12 Physical Science forum - just in case some of those experts can also help you!

bfinio
Expert
Posts: 462
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:41 pm
Occupation: Science Buddies Staff

Re: Diabetes Project Help

Postby bfinio » Tue Jan 05, 2021 1:06 pm

Hi happydog,

I'm one of the authors for the artificial pancreas project. I'm not a chemist or biologist - I'm a robotics engineer and I designed the electrical circuit in the project. We designed the project this way because it's fairly simple to build an electrical circuit that works based on the electrical conductivity of the liquid, which in this case depends on the pH. It's a very similar concept to what we have in a few other projects, like Electrolyte Challenge (measuring conductivity of different liquids like orange juice and sports drinks):

https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science- ... orts-drink

or soil moisture sensor (detects the difference between wet and dry soil):

https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science- ... erve-water

IF glucose powder solution changes the conductivity of water (or another liquid like vinegar), then in theory it should work in a similar manner. However, I checked with some other Science Buddies staff who know more about chemistry than I do, and it doesn't look like that's the case.

If it doesn't change the conductivity, then the project gets more complicated because you would need to look into other electronic sensors that detect the chemicals you're using, and probably build a more complicated circuit or use a microcontroller like an Arduino to get data from the sensor (if you've never heard of an Arduino before, think of it like a tiny computer that people hook up to circuits for electronics projects - google it and you will see lots of examples). For example, here are a bunch of sensors that detect specific gases (not what you'd use in this project, but this is the general idea): https://www.sparkfun.com/search/results?term=gas+sensor. So you would need to search for an Arduino-compatible glucose sensor - "compatible" meaning it has wires that you can access that you can plug in to the Arduino; as opposed to the typical kind of commercially produced sensor someone would buy to use, which is sealed in a plastic case and not designed to be tinkered with.

There is definitely a community of people who build devices like this, and you will find them if you search around online, but building these would require more advanced electronics than what is described in our project. For example: https://hackaday.io/project/11719-open- ... ter-shield

Hope that helps!

Ben

happydog
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2021 4:57 pm
Occupation: Student

Re: Diabetes Project Help

Postby happydog » Wed Jan 06, 2021 10:04 am

Thank you so much for your help bfinio! Because of COVID, I most likely won't have access to a lab or the materials necessary to do the experiment using glucose powder.
I checked the "Make it your own" tab on the experiment, so I will try using some of those ideas to make my project more original, while still having the ability to do it at home by myself. I am hoping to get to the state or even national level science fair, so I feel that I need to add more of my own ideas to the experiment.
Let me know if you have any other tips!
Thanks again for your help!

bfinio
Expert
Posts: 462
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:41 pm
Occupation: Science Buddies Staff

Re: Diabetes Project Help

Postby bfinio » Wed Jan 06, 2021 10:15 am

Hi happydog - do you have any programming experience or have you ever used an Arduino before? If you want to make it to the state or national level, you might want to look into that. Basically, the project as written has a very simple circuit that gives rather coarse control over turning the pump on and off, and can be difficult to fine-tune. We did this intentionally so students with little circuit experience could still do the project, and no programming would be required. But if you want to do things like take more accurate measurements of the liquid's conductivity, control the speed of the pump, or even add another motor so you have something to stir and evenly mix the liquid, adding an Arduino would be the best way to do that. We have an introductory Arduino guide here:

https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science- ... th-arduino

but do not have many Arduino-related projects on our site. You can see a few robot-related ones here though:

https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science- ... %20bluebot

However, there are tons and tons of Arduino projects out there on the internet that do similar things to the pancreas project. For example, try searching for "arduino automatic plant watering." You will find tons of projects that accomplish a conceptually very similar task - take an electronic measurement of something, and then use that measurement to administer a certain amount of a liquid. Again in that case the measurement and liquid are different (soil moisture and water vs conductivity and baking soda/vinegar), but the programming/circuit concepts and parts used are very similar.

Hope that helps! Please don't hesitate to write back if you have more questions or to give us a status update.

happydog
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2021 4:57 pm
Occupation: Student

Re: Diabetes Project Help

Postby happydog » Wed Jan 06, 2021 4:13 pm

Thanks so much again! I don't have much programming experience, but my dad does so he could probably help me with that. I will let you know if I have any further questions or updates as I do the experiment!


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