January 21, 2014
We saw a number of compelling wearable solutions at CES this month. Now Google has a new project in the health realm of wearables, a smart contact lens for diabetics to help monitor their glucose levels. The lens measures those levels with tears, using a tiny wireless chip and glucose sensor embedded in the lens. Prototypes can generate readings every second, and Google is even looking into inserting LED lights that could alert contact lens wearers to glucose levels that are either too high or too low.
Google announced this new project in a blog post, noting that the technology is still very young, but that the company has “completed multiple clinical research studies which are helping to refine our prototype.”
The company is in talks with the FDA and intends to find expert partners to hopefully bring the product to market. The post notes that those potential partners will “use our technology for a smart contact lens and develop apps that would make the measurements available to the wearer and their doctor.” There is a lot of work to be done before people will be able to use such technology, Google notes.
“It’s worth noting that other companies, including Microsoft, have previously shown similar lenses,” TechCrunch reports. “Until now, though, it doesn’t look like there are any smart lenses available in the U.S. yet. Given Google’s reach, however, it may just be able to find the right partners to bring this technology to market.”
“We’ve always said that we’d seek out projects that seem a bit speculative or strange, and at a time when the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is declaring that the world is ‘losing the battle’ against diabetes, we thought this project was worth a shot,” Google writes in its blog post.
The company adds that it hopes this project could “someday lead to a new way for people with diabetes to manage their disease.”