Google is taking the wearable tech trend to a new level. The company has announced it is working on smart contact lenses that measure the level of glucose in one's body.
Diabetes affects around one in 19 people in the world, many of whom struggle to control the levels of blood sugar in their bodies, Google said. Blood sugar imbalances can lead to issues with eyes, kidneys and hearts.
Most diabetics need to prick their finger and test blood during the day. Many check their glucose levels less often than they should, due to the discomfort and disruption associated with those tests. Given how sharply glucose levels can change when eating, exercising or simply sweating, it would be helpful for diabetics to monitor their blood sugar levels around the clock.
Tears provide a way to measure glucose levels, but they can be difficult to collect. So a team at Google attempted to look at whether miniature electronics - with chips and sensors the size of glitter, and antennae thinner than human hair - could provide a solution.
The firm is now testing a smart contact lens that packs a chip and glucose sensor between two layers of contact lens material in order to measure glucose levels in tears. Prototypes the company currently is experimenting with generate readings once a second.
The team is looking at how the lenses could provide early warnings to wearers, such as through miniature LED lights that indicate when glucose levels are spiking or dropping below certain points.
Although Google has already completed several clinical research studies and has been in contact with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding the project, the technology is still in its infancy, the company said.