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Google Contact Lenses To Measure Blood Sugar

Last updated Sept. 16, 2015

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Robert Scoble

Google is currently working on contact lenses with sensors to measure blood sugar levels via tears.

Science fiction is becoming a reality. Google is currently working on contact lenses with sensors to measure blood sugar levels via tears. Pinpricks and swabbing blood onto test strips can be a daily hassle for those diagnosed with diabetes; however, Google’s new contact lenses can potentially make blood sugar monitoring much less invasive.

The prototype contacts measure blood glucose levels using a tiny wireless chip between two layers of soft contacts. Google is also working on putting LED lights inside the lenses to notify the user when the blood sugar levels are too high or low. The wireless antenna is thinner than a human hair and Google claims that the electronics in the lenses are so tiny that they appear to be specks of glitter.

“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,” the project's co-founders, Brian Otis and Babak Parviz, write on Google’s blog. "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 contact lenses are still in the testing phase. Although this technology appears to be remarkable, measuring blood sugar with wearable technology is not a new trend. There are special watches that records blood sugar levels from the skin throughout the day.

"It’s still early days for this technology, but we’ve completed multiple clinical research studies, which are helping to refine our prototype,” the project team says.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Jan. 25, 2014
Last updated: Sept. 16, 2015