Google reveals its smart contact lens for people with diabetes

For the past year or so, the hottest thing in wearable computing circles has been Google Glass, and it hasn't even been released as a commercial product yet. Today, Google announced yet another upcoming eye-themed wearable product but this device has a very specific, and very serious, application.

The official Google blog has the first details of what the company is calling a "smart contact lens." Before anyone starts thinking about The Six Million Dollar Man's bionic eye, Google says this device is being made for a medical purpose. The blog says the lens has been developed so that its users can measure glucose levels in tears via a tiny sensor combined with an equally small wireless chip.

The smart contact lens was made for people who suffer from diabetes in the hopes that they can more accurately monitor their glucose levels. The blog states:

We’re testing prototypes that can generate a reading once per second. We’re also investigating the potential for this to serve as an early warning for the wearer, so we’re exploring integrating tiny LED lights that could light up to indicate that glucose levels have crossed above or below certain thresholds.

Google says they intend to find partners to help bring the smart contact lens to market, along with creating apps that will display the glucose level information gathered from the lens to both the user and their doctor. The blog has no word on when the first of these products might be released to the public.

Image via Google

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trojan_market said,

take it easy guys its just a blood sugar meter. no big deal.

its a meter with wireless capability ...

its not that much different with telemetry devices that scientists / animal researcher put on their observation target.

You = livestock, eventually.

Mandosis said,
Whats the point of that "Hey look his/her blood sugar levels are a tad high!". I dont think anyone besides the family and the user would care about that at all.

A rather cool hack, might be with vending machine at community hotspots (train stations, air ports, etc Instead of the user accidentally ordering a sugar based drink, or opting for a non-sugar snack, the machine could detect the sugar levels in person and provide an alternative option notification.

"You've selected diet Coke. This drink is sugar free. Your sugar levels are low, you should consider reviewing your medical health and/or blood sugar levels.
Would you like to continue, or be provided with a sugar based alternative?"

Most hypos are from when the person doesn't realise their sugar levels are out of wack.

Torolol said,

its a meter with wireless capability ...

its not that much different with telemetry devices that scientists / animal researcher put on their observation target.

You = livestock, eventually.


I am not a big fan of google privacy invasion but give them a break. this is a medical device and the difference between humans and livestock is that they have no control over their faith but us we do have control. we will boycott google if they try to do those.

Torolol said,

its a meter with wireless capability ...

its not that much different with telemetry devices that scientists / animal researcher put on their observation target.

You = livestock, eventually.

Wow, that is the most hilarious conclusion to have reached about this tech. There are lots of things that animals use that we also use. Animals get injected with things, so do humans, ooooh we must be livestock already....

Keep your idiotic points to yourself and let everyone else be happy that there is a promising medical device that could help millions.

Nothing like checking on a patient on rounds and finding out their BS is 30 and knowing its been like that for a long time. This was needed yesterday in the hospital setting.

Google has the money and resources and size very few corporations have to do this sort of thing and of any company Google can handle it.

In a weird way, Google is most definitely perfect for this type of thing. At the core of Google's success is their ability to collect data and then dispense that data in ways people want or need. Almost all of their ventures come from that start.

This is simply collecting data and then dispensing it to the user, right down their alley. The hardware is simply the means to make it all happen.

Now this is more like it. I don't have diabetes, but the possibilities when it comes to chipping contact lenses are awesome. Much more enticing to me than Glass.

Firstly, Diabetics are often told not to wear contact lenses though!! I was told that by both my diabetic nurse and my optician.

Secondly, it's not much use if it doesn't correct vision as well and the person already uses contact lenses!

WOnder if Microsoft copyrighted the idea back in 2011... probably suing Google as we speak!

Yup, it's not even suitable for the supposed target group. They could also provide funding for universities or the farmaceutical industry instead of keeping everything internally.
I'd rather opt for a small wearable device which, instead of only measuring and notifying, will just quietly administer the correct amount of insuline to keep glucose levels balanced throughout the day, without even bothering or interfering with your day to day life. In the end, last thing diabetes patients want is a constant reminder of their illness.

thehootyowl said,
Firstly, Diabetics are often told not to wear contact lenses though!! I was told that by both my diabetic nurse and my optician.

Secondly, it's not much use if it doesn't correct vision as well and the person already uses contact lenses!

WOnder if Microsoft copyrighted the idea back in 2011... probably suing Google as we speak!

Many people with diabetes can wear contact lenses. Symptoms are worse in some than others. Many will not even notice the difference of being diabetic while wearing contact lenses.

Microsoft SHOULD sue Google. There's a video of Microsoft Research demoing the concept, in fact. I hate Google. They need to be done a way with.

Robert Wade said,
Microsoft SHOULD sue Google. There's a video of Microsoft Research demoing the concept, in fact. I hate Google. They need to be done a way with.

You mean this video?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK9F221JF48

The bad thing about this, Babak Parviz, the person that developed it at Washington University and that MSR collaborated with now works for Google.

The only way that MS could sue Google for this if there was a clause in Parviz contract that he cannot bring his technology to others when MSR funded his work, but then again, those clauses have expirations as well.

I wonder if this could be calibrated to detect hypoglycemia? That's my problem, low blood sugar, rather than high. It makes dieting a lot of fun when you can't go more than a few hours without a snack. It would be nice to have a warning to break out the beef jerky before the headache and nasty mood hits.

(In case you're wondering, for low blood sugar protein is recommended as it gives you a gradual increase and leveling out of the sugar levels, while carbohydrates cause a quick spike and then a crash if not supplemented.)

there are similar devices, I'm not sure why this one is special just because it is from google. besides, I really don't want google knowing my medical data and yet again, mining it for profit.

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