Google makes software for smartphones. The company’s developing a wearable device called Google Glass. And now Google is going even smaller, with smart contact lenses.

The lenses aren’t just a smaller version of an all-around wearable device like Glass. Instead, they’re designed to help people with diabetes monitor glucose levels throughout the day.

At this point Google’s smart contact lenses are still in the testing phases, but the technology could make life much easier for people who currently have to prick their fingers for blood tests multiple times a day.

google smart contact lens

Here’s the idea: Google has outfitted wearable contact lenses with tiny electronics including a glucose sensor, antenna, and a minuscule computer chip. The system monitors your tears and takes glucose readings once per second, providing a way to track glucose levels constantly.

The current prototype sends signals to an external device, but eventually Google could add LEDs to the contact lenses so that you can see a change in status instantly.

Google isn’t the first company to dabble in the smart contact lens space, and it’s not yet clear if a real product will come out of this. But it’s a sign that Google doesn’t just think big… sometimes the company things very, very small — like chips that can fit into contact lenses.

And who knows? Maybe one day contacts will do more than monitor your vital stats. Maybe Google Glass 16.0 will be small enough to fit on your eyeball.

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3 replies on “Google is testing smart contact lenses to monitor glucose levels”

  1. Echo Therapeutics has a much more practical
    glucose monitor. It is a transdermal sensor that simply attaches to your skin
    and it doesn’t use a needle like the Dexcom or Medtronic systems. You don’t
    have to put anything in your eye, either. Echo is getting their glucose sensor approved
    in Europe in April, and doing their final FDA trial for approval in the U.S.
    later this year.

  2. Good to see Google doing something that can really help solve the “big problems”
    in this world. Like what the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is doing. Regardless
    of how you think these tech entrepreneurs compete (ethically or otherwise), the
    targeted good they are doing should count for something when the final
    accounting comes at the end of the world, if you’re the religious sort.
    Now if Sergey Brin’s (ex-?)wife Anne Wojcicki’s 23andme.com can
    only patch up its disagreement with the FDA over genetic testing kits.

    Kudos to Warren Buffet. He had the right idea, that the uber rich (and the
    non-uber rich for that matter) shouldn’t pass on muchl their immense wealth to
    their progeny, just enough for their descendants to be financially comfortable.

    That the heads of American companies sometimes make more than 500x the
    average annual income of their lowliest employees is troubling and outrageous.
    The norm for other developed countries is more like 50x. Already, the richest
    Americans own a greater share of the country’s wealth than ever in the US’s
    history. Americans tolerate all this imbalance because their aspirational nature
    believes that anyone can pull him/herself up to the rich. Some day the
    downtrodden may wake up and smell the garbage.

    1. While that all reads well enough my guess is that there is money to be made through the monitoring data that will be harvested for marketing purposes and that that is the driver for this.
      That and the licensing of the tech should provide a sizeable income stream.

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