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Issue 19, 2020
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A self-powered insulin patch pump with a superabsorbent polymer as a biodegradable battery substitute

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Abstract

Highly popular insulin patch pumps have in-built non-removable batteries. These batteries are routinely disposed of together with the used pumps as medical waste and end up in landfills. This is an environmental contamination conundrum by design. To address this issue, we proposed a self-powered patch pump that uses a biodegradable superabsorbent polymer (SAP) instead of a battery as a power source to drive the infusion. Continuous infusion rates from 6.1 μL min−1 to 49.1 μL min−1 were achieved. Together with valve throttling, basal and bolus infusion rates of ∼10 μL h−1 (1 U h−1) and 100 μL (10 U) in ∼11 min could also be implemented for glycemic control. The generated pressure at ∼0.7 psi is also adequate for infusion as it exceeded an adult's maximum peripheral venous pressure of 0.6 psi. Given the current number of patch pump users, the proposed design could prevent ∼100 000 used batteries from entering the medical waste stream and landfill daily. Most importantly, this work highlights the possibility of addressing environmental contamination without compromising on healthcare standards by using SAP as an alternative means of energy storage.

Graphical abstract: A self-powered insulin patch pump with a superabsorbent polymer as a biodegradable battery substitute

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
11 Feb 2020
Accepted
16 Mar 2020
First published
17 Mar 2020

J. Mater. Chem. B, 2020,8, 4210-4220
Article type
Paper

A self-powered insulin patch pump with a superabsorbent polymer as a biodegradable battery substitute

J. Shao, K. H. H. Li, A. Son and B. Chua, J. Mater. Chem. B, 2020, 8, 4210
DOI: 10.1039/D0TB00385A

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