Google has announced a new smart contact lens project, but it’s got a much more specific and serious application than a simple Google Glass follow-up.
The new project is aimed at helping those with diabetes to monitor their condition more quickly and painlessly.
As explained on the official Google blogspot, scientists are constantly looking into new non-invasive ways for a diabetes sufferer to monitor your glucose levels. One possible avenue is a person’s tears, but these are hard to capture and monitor.
Step forward the Google contact lens, which Google hopes will be able to measure glucose levels in a person’s tears more accurately. Each lens contains "chips and sensors so small they look like bits of glitter, and an antenna thinner than a human hair."
This wireless chip and glucose sensor is sandwiched between two layers of soft contact lens material.
Current prototypes can apparently obtain a glucose level reading once per second. Google is investigating the possibility of an early warning system when Glucose levels look set to spike by utilising tiny embedded LED lights.
Google says that it is some way away from devising a definitive solution, but that it’s working with the FDA and actively seeking new expert partners who can help bring this kind of medical product to market.
Some of these partners include developers who could produce apps for relaying the product’s information to users and doctors.
This might not be the next step in wearable smart devices that you might have been hoping for, but it could have far more immediate and important benefits. As Google concludes:
"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 (PDF) is declaring that the world is 'losing the battle' against diabetes, we thought this project was worth a shot."
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