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Summary:

The lens could help people with diabetes monitor their daily health and recognize dangerous situations.

Google glucose testing contact lens
photo: Google

Finger pricks and careful eating are an important part of the daily routine for most people with diabetes. While automated glucose meters are a growing option, they can still create discomfort and other inconveniences.

Google[x] wants to go in a totally different direction with a project announced today: smart contact lenses that can detect glucose levels via the wearer’s tears and alert them when levels dip or rise.

“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,” project co-founders Brian Otis and Babak Parviz wrote in a blog post.

This isn’t the first smart contact lens, and several options already exist for people interested in monitoring glaucoma. But Parviz, who also leads the Google Glass team, is a smart contact pioneer and Google[x], which is a secretive division of Google dedicated to difficult, future-looking projects, has a reputation for ably pursuing projects like this.

The lens works via a small wireless chip and glucose sensor embedded between two pieces of soft material. The current prototype puts out a reading once a second. Google is also interested in integrating an LED light, which could light up to alert the wearer of dangerous glucose levels.

The lab is now looking for parters to help bring the lens to market. It would also like to develop an app that would help wearers read and manage the data the lens takes in.

“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 is declaring that the world is “losing the battle” against diabetes, we thought this project was worth a shot,” the co-founders wrote.

  1. Don’t any of you feel electronic devices which are almost attached to the human eye could harm the eye? And the future plan to have an app means that there will be signals passing in and out of the eye very frequently which increases the risk of danger to the eye.

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  2. As a type 1 diabetic that could benefit from such a technology, I wouldn’t buy this.. EVER. Google will only find someway to monetize the data and have more targeted ads bombarding me. Their brand has become so invasive and toxic that I don’t know anyone who would use it.

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  4. Google looks more and more like this http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m3oa80gIyC1qgwefso2_250.gif …..

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  5. SOON!
    Wearable devices will be the next big thing in the tech industry.
    http://bit.ly/1jaf60X

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  6. Echo Therapeutics has a much more practical glucose monitor. It is a transdermal sensor that just attaches to your skin and doesn’t use a needle like the current Dexcom or Medtronic systems. Echo is getting their sensor approved in Europe in April, and in the U.S. later this year.

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  7. How would the diabetic know there blood sugar? I want to be in the testing group. I am a Type 1 in good control and eye are in great shape.

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