In the past a number of companies, including Microsoft, have started research and development on high tech contact lenses that have so far led to nowhere. However, now Google is throwing their hat into the ring with a brand new project, and already it is turning some heads.
These contact lenses, dubbed Google Lens, are not marketed at regular consumers. Instead, they are like other lenses on the market that are targeting the medical industry.
In this particular case, the Google Lens is aimed at diabetes patients. It works by measuring glucose levels in tears, by creating a contact lens with a miniature, flexible chip. Through the day is monitors the patient through the moisture in the eye, testing continuously for dangerous spikes in insulin or blood pressure.
What makes this such a great idea is the way it would potentially eliminate the need for regular blood testing. Because pricking your finger is such a hassle and pain, a lot of diabetes patients fail to check their numbers properly through the day.
The idea behind the design is pretty cool. Rather that using a circuit board, which would limit flexibility and cause other issues in functionality, they make extra small pieces that all connect together using an antenna made of gold foil. It makes the lens more bendy, light, and more comfortable to wear.
Now, I don’t have diabetes, so I didn’t feel I was really qualified to speak about how useful this might be. Instead, I asked a friend of mine living with Type I Diabetes, Sarah, what she thought about it.
I’d try it after more clinical studies have shown that it’s effective and have zero side effects, like the microchip potentially scratching my lens and causing further eye damage, she told me.
For those who are troubled by testing their blood sugar manually with a finger poke, this could be useful. There is already technology similar to this called Continuous Glucose Monitors, but they do require insertion under the skin, which can sting.
Indeed, the current under the skin monitors are helpful. But many who have them still require blood testing on a regular or semi-regular basis. And not everyone is able to use the devices in the first place.
This could be an interesting development, along the same lines as other medical contact lenses like the ones used for glaucoma.