Google working on smart contact lens for diabetics

Contact lens designed to measure glucose levels using teardrops.

Google is developing a "smart" contact lens that can measure the glucose levels of diabetic patients using their teardrops.

The firm is testing the lenses, which contain a miniaturised glucose sensor and an antenna thinner than a human hair.

We're testing prototypes that can generate a reading once per second. 

The plan is to eradicate the need for diabetic patients to prick their finger and test their blood - a process which is fiddly and puts many off checking their glucose levels regularly.

"We're also investigating the potential for this to serve as an early warning for the wearer, so we're exploring integrating tiny LED lights that could light up to indicate that glucose levels have crossed above or below certain thresholds," project co-founders Brian Otis and Babak Parviz, noted on the Google blog.

"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."

The smart contact lens will be able to sync with apps that will let the patient and their doctor monitor glucose levels.

There's no time frame on the project, but Google appears to have a handle on the technical aspects as it has a working prototype. The biggest hurdle will be getting product approval from health regulators like the FDA.

Google-owned subsidiary Motorola is also working on wearable tech. Regina Dugan, head of advanced technology projects, showed off a couple of interesting ideas the firm is working on at the All Things D conference in June 2013.

Dugan debuted a non-permanent wearable tattoo made up of tiny stretchable sensors, which could be used for authentication purposes. She also revealed the firm was working on making tablets with sensors embedded in them that could help monitor health and negate the need for passwords.

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