Google Contact Lens Will Measure Glucose Levels in Tears

Making it easier for diabetes patients to monitor dangerous blood sugar dips and spikes

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Google is testing prototypes of a “smart” contact lens that will make it easier for diabetes patients to monitor their blood sugar levels and stay healthy.

Project leaders Brian Otis and Babak Parviz said on Google’s official blog Thursday that the new lens measures wearers’ glucose levels in their tears. It contains a tiny glucose sensor and miniscule wireless chip that can gather and transmit information on a continual basis.

The project was inspired by what Otiz and Parviz saw as a major problem in current care techniques for diabetes patients. “People with diabetes must still prick their finger and test drops of blood throughout the day,” they said. “It’s disruptive, and it’s painful. And, as a result, many people with diabetes check their blood glucose less often than they should.”

The new contact lens could help patients monitor their blood sugar more regularly by making the process less uncomfortable and invasive.

Prototypes of the lens are currently being tested at Google[x], a lab devoted to developing innovative products. Still in the early phases of development, Google did not specify when the product would become available, but said it was in discussion with the FDA and partners to bring the technology to market.

MORE: Google’s Diabetes Contacts Are Cool, but I’d Rather Just Have a Cure