Pricking your finger several times a day may soon be a thing of the past. Google announced that they have begun testing a smart contact lens designed to measure glucose levels in the user’s eye. Investigators say that tears can provide as accurate a reading as pricking a finger and testing the blood. Due to the difficulty of collection, tears have proved hard to test—until now.
A tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor are embedded between two layers of soft biocompatible contact lens material. The prototypes are designed to test glucose readings once per second, and transmit the information, via radio frequencies, to an external device. The miniature electronics can’t be seen by the user’s eye; chips are no larger than bits of glitter and an antenna is thinner than a human hair.
Future prototypes may be integrated with tiny LED lights, which could serve as an early warning for the user if glucose levels have crossed above or below certain thresholds.
Google is in discussion with the FDA to move the system forward and is looking for partners who can help bring the product to market. Company officials hope that these partners will be able to use their technology for the smart contact lens and create apps that would make the measurements viewable by the user and their doctor.
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