Google X builds smart contact lenses for diabetics
MANILA, Philippines - Google takes the whole idea of wearables a step further.
As the company forges ahead in the sphere of head-mounted computers with its Google Glass product, it’s not about to stop there. On Thursday, January 16 (Friday in Manila), it’s top secret Google X facility unveiled an even bolder step forward - smart contact lenses.
Announced via a blog post, Google’s smart contact lens project isn’t the same kind of wearable computer as Google Glass, but one that aims to help people living with diabetes manage their glucose levels.
Google says the project comes at a time when the International Diabetes Federation declares the world is “losing the battle” against the disease.
The smart contact lens contains miniaturized chips and sensors that measure glucose levels in tears. Currently, diabetes patients prick their fingers to test their blood sugar levels.
The microscopic wireless chips look like bits of glitter to the human eye. Google says the antenna is thinner than a human hair with electronics embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material.
The product is still in its early development stages. Current prototypes are able to conduct readings once per second and supposedly transmit that data wirelessly. In the future Google hopes to build in LED lights that can serve as an early warning device when a user’s glucose levels gets too low.
The idea isn’t new. Back in 2011 researchers from the University of Washington and Microsoft also talked about the idea of a functional contact lens that monitors blood sugar levels via what it calls a Natural User Interface (NUI).
Google is looking for partners to realize its vision. It is already in talks with the US Food and Drug Administration, but admits a lot of work still needs to be done. - Rappler.com