I put on my reporters cap and I called Robert Rosenthal over at Futrex recently. I asked Robert about the rumors I had been hearing about his meter making it through clinical trials. Though 44 companies are working on it, Robert and his company, Futrex, Inc., have been getting a lot of publicity about their new non-invasive (bloodless) blood glucose meter. They call their device the “Dream Beam,” and it uses infrared light to “read” blood sugar levels through the skin.
Robert’s answer was that he was “working, pursuing and spending lots of money on the project,” but he couldn’t tell me any more than that. Apparently, it is in bad form to crow about a product before it gets FDA approval and Robert doesn’t want to let people down by delaying the release of his device. There is no way of knowing when it will get approval, and nothing can be done till then.
With that topic thoroughly sealed off, I took a different tack. “Robert, what’s all this I hear about your product being developed because of a little girl?” Well here was something that he could talk about.
“It all started three years back when another device I invented was featured on a British TV show called Tomorrow’s World.” The show apparently displays some odd looking device and viewers call in and to guess the function of the object. That day they displayed a device which measures body fat with sound waves. Apparently when they revealed the true identity of the device that day it made someone really mad. This person, a grandmother of a little girl named Jennifer, wrote Robert an angry letter that ran something along the line of “You damn Americans have done it again. My granddaughter has diabetes and she has to poke herself every day to get blood to test her blood sugar. Why can’t you invent a device that will test the blood through the skin?”
Robert claims that he started to work that day on a meter for Jennifer. He scrapped a project he had already been working on and he cleared the bench of everything else but this new project. What he started would eventually become the “Dream Beam”-a non-invasive blood glucose meter.
Though Robert wouldn’t tell anything about the availability of his meter, he did say that plans were underway for his own his own granddaughter (who’s name is also Jennifer) to fly to London and present the other Jennifer the first available meter. This will take place on the TV show which brought them together, Tomorrow’s World.
And here is the kicker: Robert Rosenthal himself received diabetes in July of ’92! He said “This is a real kick in the butt for me. I think there has to be a message there.” He said he tests 5 times/day, but he didn’t say which meter he was using.