Profusa, a company based in San Francisco, has developed a device that can be implanted under the skin and can serve as a sensor to determine levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, glucose and lactate in the blood. What’s significant is that the device consists of a hydrogel scaffold that the body does not detect as a foreign object. Because of that, the device’s performance does not degrade due to scar tissue and other immune system responses that would otherwise coalesce around the device.
Smaller than a grain of rice, the scaffold is populated with dye molecules that respond to various analytes in the blood. When near infrared light shines on the device, the dye fluoresces at varying brightness depending on the level of analyte present, thereby providing a measurable signal.
Profusa envisions a multitude of applications for health monitoring and for enhancing physical training and performance.