Wearable technology? Google has high-tech contact lenses in development

Phyllis Stark

Wearable technology? Google has high-tech contact lenses in development

Phyllis Stark
CREATED Jan. 17, 2014

You may have heard of Google Glass, the company’s interactive eyewear, but how about Google contact lenses?

USA Today reports Google is extending its line of “wearable technology” by developing a “smart” contact lens. While still in the early stages of development, Google execs hope the product will help diabetics better manage their disease.
 
“The lens measures glucose in tears using a wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor,” USA Today explains. 
 
“Diabetes sufferers sometimes do not check their glucose levels as often as they should because those checks are usually disruptive or painful, such as pricking a finger to do a blood test,” according to USA Today. “Researchers have been looking for less intrusive ways to check glucose, through sweat, saliva, urine or tears.”
 
However, “It's very difficult to measure glucose levels in the body with tears, partly because there's not much of the liquid available and it is hard to collect,” says USA Today.
 
That’s where Google contacts come in.
 
"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," Google said. The “glitter” chips are mounted between the layers of thin, flexible film, similar to that used in soft contact lenses.
 
“A tiny pinhole in the lens lets tear fluid from the surface of the eye seep into the glucose sensor,” USA Today reports. “The prototypes can take a glucose level reading once every second, Google said.
 
“Google said it has done ‘multiple studies’ to test the comfort and functionality of the lens and explore how tear glucose correlates with blood glucose, particularly in people with diabetes,” reports the paper, which says Google is in talks with the Food & Drug Administration about the technology.
 

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