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Google Wants to Help Diabetics Monitor Glucose with Smart Contacts

When the folks at Google X labs aren’t tuning self-driving Priuses or floating internet-disseminating balloons, they’re apparently working on helpful devices for people with chronic health conditions. Today, Google took the wraps off an alternative to needle-based glucose tests for people with diabetes: simple, painless, and unobtrusive smart contact lenses. How great is that? 

The lenses, which are made up of a miniaturized sensor and wireless chip wedged between contact material, work by measuring the glucose level in tears. Readings are generated once per second and sent to an external electronic like a smartphone, but the team is working on integrating LEDs that would more easily warn the wearer if levels became dangerously high or low.

Google says the technology is still in the early stages, but that it has completed multiple clinical research studies to improve the contacts and is working with the FDA to bring a product to market. A purchasable product is obviously a few years away, but it’s great to see Google X working to improve the lives of so many people.

Via: Google
  • Jim Kelly

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

  • Wyveryx

    This is why I support Google.

  • Higher_Ground

    Hopefully they are affordable. LEDs? So I guess your eyes will start glowing when you’re blood sugar’s low. I can imagine a market for LED contacts w/o glucose sensors, too.

    • Stuff Nick Says

      Raver parties in the 2020’s…

  • jrop

    Honest question here: what are the health concerns to having this in you eye? Metal/lead poisoning??

  • Gr8Ray

    I wonder how it’s powered though?

    • Daistaar

      Hmmm…. That’s an excellent question. I’d think with the amount of electricity and head energy the body produces that might be enough to power it. Also, the amount of salination in the eye could be conductive enough (I’d imagine).

      • Stuff Nick Says

        Likely transmits via RFID.

  • I want Google Glass contact lenses.

  • Uchendu Nwachuku

    Great. So Google is going to collect information about diabetics so they can sell ads for insulin… 😉

  • Cael

    Dear Google, please develop color changing contacts.

  • jhlinka

    So is google now hiring a bunch of biomedical engineers? Hit me up google!

  • StacyHarry00

    got some info

  • Alex Boro

    This will be good like 200 years from now when I’m old and will get diabetes.

  • Blue Sun

    I don’t wear contacts now, but I will be once this product comes out. Checking my glucose numbers is easily the most annoying tasks I have to do every day.

  • travp624

    This is cool for diabetics like me! But seriously this should already be available.

  • Jonathan

    To me, this seems like the most promising aspect of wearable tech. Contact lenses can sense glucose levels, and most likely some other things that usually take a blood test (cholesterol maybe? or antibodies?). A wrist band could keep track of your heart rate. In ten years maybe we’ll all be able to keep track of our basic health any time, any day, without a visit to a doctor.

  • gambit07

    This is awesome! I could really use tech like this, as long as you could get the contacts as a prescription

  • luiscortes

    I wish I would have known to apply.

    • Chris

      apply for what? There is no product.

      • Evan Knofsky

        The article states they’ve already completed multiple clinic trials, so there is obviously already a product.

        • John Legere

          Shhh, Chris’s pea sized brain isn’t good enough to read before speaking

  • Philip J. Fry

    Technology is awesome.

  • Kevin

    Oh no, it’s going to displays ads. /s

  • kashtrey

    That’s pretty amazing and such a relatively simple idea at the same time. Things like this are what true innovation is. Using existing tech in new ways to solve real problems. Not to make this a pissing contest between the tech giants but it’s nice to see Google’s work in the health area instead of being solely focused on cell phones, tablets, or gaming equipment.

  • Daniel Russell

    That really is a cool technology. Google really is trying to improve the lives of everyone.

    • jamdev12

      I would say that they probably got this from Motorola. I don’t know if you saw the talk at AllThingsD(I know this is mostly a website that is loves CrApple products and their late messiah Steve) about a year ago with Motorola’s CEO and this lady that used to work for the Pentagon. They were talking about wearables and she was talking about an electronic pill as well as a digital patch that would tell you all kinds of things.


      • Higher_Ground

        I remember reading about the pill… and thinking “this is how they get the nanobots in you”.

    • John Legere

      They should work on a cure next. The only real and better choice, is eating healthy and exercise. Except that’s too much for most people.

      • StockGS3er

        Um…what about those with Type 1 Diabetes that are genetically predisposed with the condition. As a Type 1 Diabetic, I find your comment ignorant and insulting.

        • ButThatsJustMe

          That pretty much describes every comment by this Bionic 2.0.

        • John Legere

          I wasn’t trying to be. I mean, look at Drew Carey.

          • Franklin Ramsey

            Well Drew Carey also didn’t have type 1. I had type 2 and was able to get off it through lots of exercise. You tend to stop being as lazy when it turns into, “Exercise or lose a limb”

          • John Legere

            Exactly. Sometimes you have to be harsh or nobody learns.

        • Ian

          He said most people…..

      • MBJones

        Healthy eating is good for EVERYBODY but does NOT cure T1

  • AbbyZFresh

    It’s over. Planet Earth will become Planet Google in the next 50 years.

    • I couldn’t agree more! been saying this for 3 years!

    • michael arazan

      I think Sergi looks at us all as his Real Life Sim game in development.

      They should build this into a smart watch. A smart watch could be very useful for people with medical needs. Could even put a laser view finder in it for the blind. Test glucose levels. Have a wearable medical alert bracelet. Have a panic button for the elderly and disable to notify phone to call for help. The list is endless for medical assistance applications.

  • John Legere
    • jamdev12

      You are like the meme junkie. Once you are hooked you can’t stop. Not that I’m not telling you to stop, just an observation based on your posts.

      • John Legere

        The struggle is real

  • Jeremy Buro

    One day Google will take over the world and EVERYONE saw it coming…..I called it first though!

    • grumpyfuzz

      actually many people have said that way before you 😛

      • trd105

        Yeah, people like ME! I said it way before him. Definitely. Yep. Promise.

  • Michael


    • jamdev12


      • Michael

        your dumb

        • Adrynalyne

          So much irony in that statement, LOL.

        • John Legere


          • Dan Meade


          • John Legere

            Oh, you’re just so mature. Are you feeling insecure today?

        • La2da

          My dumb what?

          • John Legere

            I see what you did there, sneaky guy