Tech giants, Google has announced that it is testing a “smart contact lens” that can help measure glucose levels in tears. It uses a “tiny” wireless chip and a “miniaturised” glucose sensor embedded between two layers of lens material. The firm said it is also working on integrating tiny LED lights that could light up to indicate that glucose levels have crossed certain thresholds.
But it added that “a lot more work” needed to be done to get the technology ready for everyday use. “It’s still early days for this technology, but we’ve completed multiple clinical research studies which are helping to refine our prototype,” the firm said in a blogpost.
“We hope this could someday lead to a new way for people with diabetes to manage their disease.”Many global firms have been looking to expand in the wearable technology sector – seen by many as a key growth area in the coming years.
Various estimates have said the sector is expected to grow by between $10bn and $50bn (£6bn and £31bn) in the next five years. Within the sector, many firms have been looking specifically at technology targeted at healthcare. Google’s latest foray with the smart contact lens is aimed at a sector where consumer demand for such devices is expected to grow. According to the International Diabetes Foundation, one in ten people across the world’s population are forecast to have diabetes by 2035.
People suffering from the condition need to monitor their glucose levels regularly as sudden spikes or drops are dangerous. At present, the majority of them do so by testing drops of blood.
Google said it was testing a prototype of the lens that could “generate a reading once per second”. Google said it was working with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to bring the product to mainstream use.