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Google’s latest moonshot: A smart contact lens for diabetic patients

The smart contact lens features an integrated sensor and a wireless receiver that fits on the surface of a contact lens.

Smart lens

At this stage, it is clear that Google is very interested in the wearable segment. While devices like Google Glass are designed for ingratiating technology more easily into the everyday environment, the idea behind the smart contact lens is to make it easier for diabetic patients to monitor their glucose levels.

Google smart lens

The smart contact lens can measure the glucose content of the wearer’s tears, and can do so twice every second. This method is more convenient that using a regular blood sugar level instrument, which requires users to draw their own blood daily. Currently, the contact lens features a glucose sensor and antenna that are wedged between two layers of contact lens. The circuit that has been used in the lens is no bigger than a piece of glitter. These are enclosed in a thin plastic-like film that is biocompatible.

The smart contact lens broadcasts information via radio frequencies to an external monitoring device, which powers the mechanics of the lens through radio frequencies. Google is also looking to add a small LED notification light that lets users know when their glucose level has crossed a certain value.

This lens was designed at Google’s X labs, Google’s research division that is known for undertaking ambitious initiatives, like the self-driving car. Babak Parvis, the man behind the idea, has been working on a smart lens at the University of Washington before he joined Google’s X labs. At one stage, he collaborated with Microsoft Research in creating a similar lens that could be wearable. But the project looks like it did not get anywhere after that.

Worldwide diabetes count is set to cross 500 million by 2035, according to the International Diabetes Federation. Therefore, a lens that can effectively monitor glucose content would be a boon for individuals with diabetes.

Google is currently working with the Food and Drug Administration in conducting clinical trials of the smart contact lens, and is also looking for partners that would be interested in bringing this product to the market.

Source: Google

Image Source: Re/code




Harish Jonnalagadda
Harish Jonnalagadda is an avid reader of science-fiction novels. A long-time Arsenal fan, his other interests include gaming, basketball and making music. He also likes tinkering with hardware in his free time.

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