Google has announced it is testing a “smart contact lens” that can help measure glucose levels in tears.
The lens uses a “tiny” wireless chip and a “miniaturized” glucose sensor embedded between two layers of lens material.
Google 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,” Google said in a blogpost.
“We hope this could someday lead to a new way for people with diabetes to manage their disease.”
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 Federation (IDF), 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”.
The company said it was working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to bring the product to mainstream use.
It added that it would look for partners “who are experts in bringing products like this to market”.
Google said it would work with these partners to develop apps aimed at making the measurements taken by the lens available to the wearer and their doctor.
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