What if there was an easier way for people with diabetes to test their glucose levels other than pricking their fingers several times a day?
Google is developing a smart contact lens that measures glucose levels in tears “using a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor that are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material,” according to a blog post by Brian Otis and Babak Parviz, the project’s cofounders.
Currently, the prototypes generate a glucose level reading once every second.
Tiny LED lights are being looked into as an early warning for the wearer. The lights could indicate if glucose levels are too high or too low.
“It’s still early days for this technology, but we’ve completed multiple clinical research studies which are helping to refine our prototype,” Otis and Parviz wrote. “We hope this could someday lead to a new way for people with diabetes to manage their disease.”
Google is talking to the Food and Drug Administration about the technology, but said it still has a lot more work to do until it reaches the market. The company plans to partner with experts who can help get the smart lens market-ready, and can develop applications that would make the measurements easily accessible to the wearer and their doctor.
“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 is declaring that the world is ‘losing the battle’ against diabetes, we thought this project was worth a shot,” wrote Otis and Parviz.