Every one out of nineteen suffers from diabetes on the planet, and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) starts here in their considerations and came up with a prototype of ‘smart contact lens’ aka Google X that will facilitate the monitoring of sugar level in blood and help diabetes patients to manage their disease.
Really! Contact lens against diabetes
The idea has a great value for anyone who knows how diabetes causes continuous and infinite torment of having to monitor the sugar level every day. How high levels of glucose may lead to fainting as well as permanent damage to various affected organs. Until now, the sugars in circulation was measured mainly in small blood samples directly (with continuous perforation of the epidermis using appropriate tools), but the prototype of smart contact lenses by Babak Parviz at Google, will monitor continuously in a discrete, non-invasive and more effective way.
“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 in its press release.
“We hope a tiny, super sensitive glucose sensor embedded in a contact lens could be the first step in showing how to measure glucose through tears, which in the past has only been theoretically possible.”
In fact, the traditional methods are often uncomfortable and too often act as a barrier, only to discourage the continuous monitoring of blood sugar levels. While, the contact lens would change everything and measure the sugar level continuously (once per second). In which, a signal would be sent by means of a small ultra-low power LED, and such a tiny light to be projected on the eye that only the concerned person may be alarmed to notice immediately about the evolving situation.
The research is still in progress, and reportedly, Google is in discussions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval of such a method of glucose measurement. And hopefully, the project in all likelihood will be coming in a relatively short time.
It’s all started with Microsoft Research
What Google [X] is doing today, however, only an evolution of what the industry has already seen in 2011. The same Parviz, also leading Google Glass today, worked on a pair of contact-lens idea at the University of Seattle, cooperating with Microsoft Research.
In that case, the project was more ambitious and looked in the direction as the Google Glass: Natural interfaces, and the merger between the real world and the virtual world to interact with the surrounding reality.
However, the focus on diabetes was also one of the goals of Microsoft Research team as Google is forming a solution to the problem, today.
“Smart contact lens” Now it’s up to Google
Compared to the Microsoft’s vision, it has much changed: the best technology, rapidly evolving and now also a new budget to draw from. The work begun by Parviz with Microsoft could now be finished in Google.
Brian Otis, Head of the Wireless Sensing Lab at the University of Washington is now also collaborating in the project. He is carries out a series of experiments for apps, in addition to the miniaturization of chips for contact lenses, also points to future wireless interfaces for smartphones, monitoring systems for the home environment and more.