Google’s Smart Lenses Aid Diabetic Testing

Google's smart lenses

Google has kicked up the major technology trend of the year in aiding diabetic testing. Wearable technology may appear on everyone’s wish list, but Google’s new product has taken wearables to another plane. Google announced on its website the prototype of a contact lens that’s smart. The contact lens does not have built-in navigation yet, but it does have the ability to help diabetes suffers.

Google’s prototype is a soft contact lens made with two layers. A sensor in embedded between the layers of the lenses, which senses the amount of glucose in the wearer’s tears. The lens also contains a miniscule antenna, controller and capacitor, which transfers the information gained from the sensor to a device where the wearer can see the results from the sensor.

According to Google’s announcement of the technology, the sensors and chip are seated on a little plastic film. A small hole in the contact lens allows the tears to flow over the glucose sensor to collect ongoing readings, one per second, according to the statement. Accurate, ongoing glucose level information is very important for proper diabetic care; Google’s smart lenses aid diabetic testing by providing information continuously and accurately.

According to the National Diabetes Education Program, approximately 382 million people have diabetes, including 25.8 million in America, or 8 percent of the population. Everyday, diabetics must test their blood sugar levels several times a day by pricking their fingers with a needle to draw a sample of blood to be tested. Some diabetics wear a blood sugar monitor that is embedded under the skin. Diabetic testing is painful, disruptive and troublesome to hundreds of millions of people, making this disease difficult to manage, especially for children.

Medical researchers and physician have worked on different ways to measure blood glucose through tears for many years; the problem arose trying to seize the tears and assess them accurately. There is hope that Google’s Smart Lenses will aid in diabetic testing.

A few companies, like EyeSense, have come up with their own methods to introduce sensors into the eye to analyze glucose levels, while Freedom Meditech has been exploring the possibility of measuring blood sugar levels in the eye by using light.

Brian Otis and Babak Parviz, Google co-founders of this project, are the perfect team to head such an ambitious endeavor. Parviz used his vast knowledge in biotech to come up with this smart contact lens. Parviz, previous leader of the Google Glass group, and Otis were co-workers at the University of Washington before transferring over to Google X. While the contact lens project is still in its infancy, the Food and Drug Administration has been consulting with the group about how to bring this project to market.

Diabetes, or diabetes mellitus, is a type of metabolic condition that describes a person with high blood glucose (blood sugar) due to inadequate insulin productions, or because the cells do not respond to insulin properly, or both. Diabetics suffer from an increase in urination and an increase in thirst and hunger.

Diabetes appears in three different types: Type 1, also known as insulin-dependent, early onset, or juvenile, is characteristic by the body’s inability to produce insulin. Type 1 usually appears before a person turns 40, most often making an appearance in a person’s teenage years to young adult. Type 2 is characteristic by the body’s cells inability to respond to insulin, or the body does not make enough insulin. The third type of diabetes is gestational diabetes, which shows up while a woman is pregnant and can lead to having larger babies.

Diabetic suffers can look towards the future now since Google’s smart lenses can aid in diabetic testing.

By Deborah Baran

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