Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced on Friday that it was working on a wearable eye lense that would be able to monitor diabetes patients’ blood sugar levels. Google says the device would be more convenient than a blood test that requires diabetics to prick their finger. One in 19 people worldwide are afflicted with the disease.
Google says that the contact lens has “glitter”-sized microchips and sensors as well as an antenna “thinner than a human hair” to send blood sugar to the wearer as well as data to a doctor. The hardware is sandwiched between two layers of contact lens material on the device.
Google says it has already conducted multiple clinical research trials. The company said it was looking for manufacturing partners to help bring the product to market.
“We’re testing prototypes that can generate a reading once per second,” Google said in a company blog post. “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 cited the complications of incorrect blood sugar levels, such as damage to the eyes, kidney and heart, but notes that since diabetic blood tests are painful and inconvenient, many diabetics to not monitor their sugar levels as often as they should. Google says it is in discussions with the FDA, but has a lot of work to do to make the product a reality.
“We’ve always said that we’d seek out projects that seem a bit speculative or strange,” Google said in the post, “and at a time when the International Diabetes Federation is declaring that the world is ‘losing the battle’ against diabetes, we thought this project was worth a shot.”