Google Smart Contact Lens Measures Glucose Levels In Tears
Article by George Norman
On 17 Jan 2014
Search engine giant Google recently introduced its smart contact lens project. Still in its early development phase, the smart contact lens works like this:

- once every second it analyzes the glucose levels in tears.
- by integrating tiny LED lights, the contact lens could warn the wearer when the glucose levels go under/over a certain level.

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My father-in-law has diabetes and I can tell you first hand that this is a serious health problem. Many other people around the world, not just my father-in-law, have to live with diabetes. It is, as a matter of fact, a huge and growing problem. Just to put things in perspective, I am going to tell you that diabetes affects 1 in every 19 people at a global scale.

Google is interested in helping people with diabetes – via a smart contact lens. The company recently unveiled a new project that will help diabetes patients track their glucose levels. Once inserted, the smart contact lens analyzes the glucose levels in tears. And if tiny LED lights are fitted to the lens, they could light up when glucose levels drop or rise to dangerous levels.

Brian Otis and Babak Parviz, project co-founders, explain:

“We’re now testing a smart contact lens that’s built to measure glucose levels in tears using a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor that are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material. We’re testing prototypes that can generate a reading once per second. We’re also investigating the potential for this to serve as an early warning for the wearer, so we’re exploring integrating tiny LED lights that could light up to indicate that glucose levels have crossed above or below certain thresholds. It’s still early days for this technology, but we’ve completed multiple clinical research studies which are helping to refine our prototype. We hope this could someday lead to a new way for people with diabetes to manage their disease.”

The smart contact lens project is still in its infancy. Google needs to discuss things over with the FDA, turn the technology into a usable system, and find partners who can bring the product to market. Hopefully it won’t take too long for all the work to be done. Hopefully we will soon have smart contact lenses that will monitor and warn diabetes patients.




Tags: Google, diabetes, contact lens, technology, FDA, glucose, LED
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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