"I never want anybody to go through what I had to go through," said Russell Fearon, a Syracuse University mechanical engineer student.

These past two years have been challenging for Fearon.

"All the things you have to worry about,” said Fearon. “People looking at you funny or you go to the bathroom and somebody is like, ‘What are you doing? Are you taking drugs?’ It's just an awful feeling."

The Syracuse University senior was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes his sophomore year.


"It blindsided me and my whole entire family because it doesn't run in our family,” said Fearon.

It's an autoimmune disease where the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin -- a hormone that carries blood sugar to cells so the body can function. There are different devices to watch glucose levels.

“It's a huge pack of needles and a glucose meter, test strips, insulin pens, insulin syringes,” said Fearon. “All of these things to accomplish one or two tasks."

It’s a process that Fearon is trying to make less strenuous and painful. He and his peer Ricardo Sanchez created a glucose-monitoring watch called SugEx.

"You simply push the button on the side of the watch which activates the needle or lantern underneath,” said Sanchez, a Syracuse University industrial and interaction design student. “Then insert a test strip into the small opening and when you're ready, press the button again which will cause the need to launch downward and prick the skin."

An invention that advocates say would be easier to use.

"Anyone with diabetes would benefit from a wider availability of choices because it's a very personalized disease and not everything works will for everyone,” said Tracy Foss, the JDRF executive director.

"I wanted to do something that would have a positive impact on people's lives,” said Sanchez.

Hoping one day, those with diabetes can wear this watch to help them fight the life-long battle.

Fearon and Sanchez presented their invention at the 2019 National EmPOWERED to Serve Business competition. They won a $55,000 grant from the American Heart Association which they will use to further develop the watch to eventually sell in stores.