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SU Engineering Student Invents Wearable Device to Help People Manage Their Diabetes

Syracuse University

A Syracuse University Mechanical Engineering student will be competing Thursday evening in Washington, DC after inventing a device the helps people manage their diabetes.

"It's a wearable glucose monitoring watch."

Senior Russell Fearon is one of the top nine candidates, and the only college student,  in the American Heart Association’s Empowered to Serve business accelerator program.

"Instead of pricking the fingers or using a continuous glucose monitor, it pinches the forearms, which many people use already as the alternative site. It hurts less, and it's a lot more convenient to have on your wrist."

Fearon has a chance to win the top prize of $50,000 to implement his device, which is called Sugex.  Second place gets $20,000.  There’s some personal motivation behind his invention.  The trim six-foot-four entrepreneur was feeling lethargic and thirsty, and attributed it to the stress of college. 

Credit Scott Willis / WAER-FM 88.3
WAER-FM 88.3
Fearon was kind enough to stop by our studios to talk about his invention and competition.

"A few weeks go by, and I end up in the emergency room.  My blood sugar was at 650, and they said, 'wow, you have type-1 diabetes.'  It really blindsided me and my family."

That was a year and a half ago at age 19.  Fearon admits it hasn’t been easy.

"It's a really hard adjustment.  I didn't know many people...I didn't know anybody who had it, to be honest.  It was something I was dealing with, and it was always on my mind.   So I started devising...what can I do to improve the situation?  Once Ricardo and I thought about it.  The idea really stuck, and we were like 'wow, this is it.'"

Ricardo is his business partner.  Fearon says the biggest challenge right now is attending classes while also trying to run a business.  He’ll make his pitch Thursday evening in Washington in front of 500 people, including CEO’s.  Judges will also award five thousand dollars to a fan favorite.  You can vote for Fearon at Empowered to until Thursday evening.  The competition will be streamed live by Roland Martin on his show #RolandMartinUnfiltered.


Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at