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Birds for Better Blood Glucose Testing

By David Mendosa

Last Update: November 14, 2006

What do you get when you cross a pelican with an albatross? We will never see that combination in nature. But when applied to blood glucose testing, this mix can bring us big benefits.

The pelican has a large pouch. The albatross is a bird that can navigate hundreds of miles and always find its destination.

Just change pelican to Pelikan Technologies in Palo Alto, California. This company has developed the electronically-controlled Pelikan Sun lancing system. Already approved by the FDA, when it becomes available in a few months, this will be the first lancing system that will allow us to perform the entire lancing process at the touch of a button.

Pelikan will market it as a less painful and virtually hassle-free way to lance your fingers or alternative sites. It will include a lancet disk, so users will never have to see a lancet ever again. The 50 lancets in this disk are the equivalent of the pelican’s large pouch.

In December, Pelikan Technologies bought a German company named Inventus. The acquisition provides Pelikan with the Inventus GlucoSens blood glucose meter. Pelikan immediately changed the Inventus name to Albatros Technologies.

Now, change albatross to Albatros and you will get a system that will always find its destination. This target is the precise penetration, chosen automatically from among 30 depth settings.

“This is a device for everybody, especially children and the elderly, who in particular have special needs,” says Pelikan’s President and CEO, Dirk Boecker, M.D., Ph.D. “Children are the people with the most sensitive skin, and they have to test for their entire life. This device will let them be more compliant.”

The German spellings of Pelikan and Albatross are no coincidence. Dr. Boecker hails from that country.

“We now own all technologies and components necessary for the development of our advanced, fully-integrated glucose monitoring device,” he says. “The sensor fits nicely into the format of the Pelikan Sun.” Yet it will be about the size of Apple’s iPod mini and weigh about 5 ounces, he says.

“The fully integrated one-step device will have 50 lancets and 50 sensors in one disk,” says Pelikan Marketing Manager Chris Bergstrom. “We don’t have strips, and no consumer will ever handle strips ever again.”

They don’t expect the device integrating the Pelikan Sun and GlucoSens meter to be on the market until 2007. They haven’t named it yet, but my guess is that it will be the German name for a beautiful bird.

Sidebar: Disks, Discs, and Drums
Pelikan will offer the first lancing disk and eventually the first lancing and sensing disk. Currently, two Bayer meters, the Ascensia Dex 2 and Ascensia Breeze, use a 10-test strip disc, which does away with handling individual test strips.

Roche’s Accu-Chek Compact also automates the strip-handling process. It enables test strips to be dispensed from a drum of 17 strips with a press of a button.

The ReliOn NewTek contains 100 pre-loaded test strips. Hypoguard markets this meter exclusively through Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.

MediSense’s Precision Sof-Tact was the first glucose monitor to offer lancing, blood collection, and glucose testing with a single press of a button. Yet you do have to load each lancet and test strip. 

This article originally appeared in Diabetes Health, March 2005, page 62. The company’s website is


For quite a while I have been trying to get my hands on the electronically controlled Pelikan Sun lancing system. I have now seen the future and know that it works.

I made over a dozen tests with a working prototype that Bob Larson, the Pelikan Technologies Vice President of Program Management, kindly brought from Palo Alto, California, to my home in Boulder, Colorado. He also showed me a cosmetic model of the final product, which looks like a piece of gold.

This revolutionary lancing device has the unique ability to dial depth settings over a wide range, and except for the very deepest, I tried them all. From what I had previously heard about the Pelikan Sun, I should have expected that the tests — even on my fingertips — would be essentially painless. I was nevertheless amazed that in actual tests it performed so well. I barely felt the lancet and sometimes didn’t feel it at all.

The Pelikan Sun has an electronic drive mechanism known as “Smart Lancing.” The electronic system quickly and precisely drives each lancet at an individually controlled speed to the exact intended depth while minimizing vibration. The electronic drive also precisely controls the braking and removal of the lancet to avoid the painful sudden stop felt in other devices. In my tests, the results were astounding. Pelikan plans to launch the Sun in international markets later this year and in the U.S. during 2006.

After writing this article, Pelikan Technologies asked me to write a “White Paper” about the Pelikan Sun. In March 2006 I wrote “Only Skin Deep: A White Paper on Modern Lancing Technology” for the company. Pelikan Technologies had it professionally laid out and printed and uses it in a package of handouts about the company and the Pelikan Sun lancing device. CEO Dirk Boecker told me when I met with him and other company officials in November 2006 at their headquarters in Palo Alto, California, that they also had my White Paper translated into German. The White Paper is now online at

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