Even though there may not seem to be any direct connection between contact lenses and blood sugar levels, Google will soon correlate these two with a miniature wireless sensor that measures glucose levels in tears.
Smart glasses such as Google Glass have a lot of different applications, but they lack an essential element: they don’t make physical contact via sensors with the wearer in order to collect details about the vital signs. Diabetics, especially the ones suffering from type I diabetes (insulin dependent diabetes), represent a particular group of people whose body chemistry should be monitored at all times. A smart contact lens packing a tiny wireless chip that tracks blood sugar levels by measuring the glucose level of tears could mean the end of hyper- and hypoglycemia.
Brian Otis and Babak Parviz developed smart contact lenses for diabetics that are packed with “chips and sensors so small they look like bits of glitter, and an antenna thinner than a human hair,” as they wrote in a blog post.
The project co-founders pointed out that the lenses are not yet in a final, marketable form: “We’re testing prototypes that can generate a reading once per second. 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.”
They also explained that “It’s still early days for this technology, but we’ve completed multiple clinical research studies which are helping to refine our prototype. We hope this could someday lead to a new way for people with diabetes to manage their disease.”
Of course, once Brian Otis and Babak Parviz complete the project and come up with a smart contact lens for diabetics that could be used at a large scale, the product also has to get the green light from FDA (Food and Drug Administration).
Few are the ones who expected Google to get involved in medical equipment, but I guess that the Internet giant wants to teach the world a lesson: wearable tech is about more than just tracking your fitness levels and sleep patterns. Hopefully, other tech companies will follow Google’s example and start making products that really make our lives better.
If you liked this post, please check these telescopic contact lenses that enable wearers to zoom in/out at will and the contact lenses featuring electrical circuits.