updated 10:32 am EST, Fri January 17, 2014
Lens serves as early warning
Google has announced that one of its [x] project teams is currently testing an experimental contact lens that integrates a glucose meter for diabetics. A tiny wireless chip and a miniature glucose sensor are embedded between two layers of soft lens material, generating blood-sugar readings once per second. Engineers are said to be exploring how to integrate tiny LED lights to serve as an additional indicator when glucose levels pass above or below a certain threshold.
"Although some people wear glucose monitors with a glucose sensor embedded under their skin, all people with diabetes must still prick their finger and test drops of blood throughout the day," project co-founders Brian Otis and Babak Parviz write in a blog post. "It's disruptive, and it's painful. And, as a result, many people with diabetes check their blood glucose less often than they should."
The concept relies on glucose measurements taken directly from tear fluid, rather than requiring users to draw blood for a traditional testing machine. The chips are said to be similar in size to bits of glitter, while the antenna wiring is thinner than a human hair.
The project leaders caution that the technology is still in its "early days," however it has already met with the FDA and completed multiple clinical trials as engineers continue to refine the prototype. The company is currently inviting developers and partners to help bring the technology to market.