Google Announces Smart Contact Lens for Diabetics

google diabetes contactsOn its official blog, Google announced the introduction of a product that has the potential to be a major game-changer for individuals with diabetes. While traditional methods of blood-glucose monitoring have always been at least a little uncomfortable, with the need to purchase prodigy test strips for the prodigy auto code, or accuchek lancets to go with the accuchek aviva testing system, among other supplies for diabetes, Google’s innovation would make blood-glucose monitoring a very different situation for individuals living with the disease. Google is looking to eventually offer a contact lens that would allow diabetics to monitor their blood-glucose levels without the need for constant pricking of fingers and other body parts to collect blood. If it bears out, the invention would be a huge boon to doctors and patients both.


In the post outlining the innovation, the project co-founders Brian Otis and Babak Parviz noted that, “Over the years, many scientists have investigated various body fluids—such as tears—in the hopes of finding an easier way for people to track their glucose levels. But as you can imagine, tears are hard to collect and study. At Google[x], we wondered if miniaturized electronics—think: chips and sensors so small they look like bits of glitter, and an antenna thinner than a human hair—might be a way to crack the mystery of tear glucose and measure it with greater accuracy.” The contact lens would be a possible alternative to the current methods which use a meter such as the prodigy auto code, along with diabetic accessories such as Accuchek lancets, prodigy test strips, and other proprietary systems and accessories. While the company has developed a prototype, they caution that the technology will require “a lot more work” before it is ready for everyday use.


In addition to the system imbedded in contact lens material already, consisting of a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor, which would allow the lens to check blood-glucose levels once per second without the need for a blood sample, the company is considering the possibility of integrating tiny LED lights that could light up to indicate that glucose levels have passed certain recognized thresholds. Otis and Parviz say in the blog post, “We’re in discussions with the FDA, but there’s still a lot more work to do to turn this technology into a system that people can use. We’re not going to do this alone: we plan to look for partners who are experts in bringing products like this to market. These 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.” This invention may mean a future for diabetics when they no longer have to buy prodigy test strips for their prodigy auto code meter, or accuchek lancets for drawing blood for the purposes of a sample, along with some of the other less-than-pleasant supplies for diabetes. We look forward to hearing from Google on the new lens’ progress.


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