Following up on recent news regarding Google meeting with the FDA on a new device, it is understood that a prototype for a smart contact lens, which is designed to help diabetics by monitoring the glucose levels found in the users tears, has been created by Google. Minute sensors monitor users glucose levels from their tears, saving diabetics from the trouble of regular blood checks or embedded sensors.
This technology is being developed by Google’s ‘X’ lab that have created special miniaturized electronics necessary to take the readings. Google has said that the sensors are so small that they “look like bits of glitter”. Presently diabetic suffers have to either wear glucose monitors embedded under their skin or they have to administer their own regular blood tests to ensure that their glucose levels are within safe parameters. It is understood that the disease affects 347 million people globally.
“Uncontrolled blood sugar puts people at risk for a range of dangerous complications, some short-term and others longer term, including damage to the eyes, kidneys and heart,” said Google in a blog post announcing the new technology. “A friend of ours told us she worries about her mom, who once passed out from low blood sugar and drove her car off the road.”
The current standard of the technology is capable of taking a reading once per second. It does this by using sensors housed between two layers of a soft contact lens. Brian Otis, project leader on the smart contact lens, holds the technology that he says is the smallest wireless glucose sensor ever made. Google also has hopes that a second generation of lens could integrate LED lights into the design, lighting up in the corner of the wearers’ vision to provide an early warning system “that glucose levels have crossed above or below certain thresholds.”
Project co-founders Brian Otis and Babak Parviz say that they are currently holding discussions with the FDA and that they are looking for partners to help bring the product to market. The prediction is that it will take at least five years for the product to reach consumers. “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,” said Google.