A new product (or at least potential product) announcement from Google caught my eye this week – they have developed and are testing prototypes of a smart contact lens that can measure glucose levels in tears. Diabetes is becoming increasingly common, with upwards of 5% of the world’s population afflicted, and managing blood sugar levels is a vital and challenging element of treating the disease. Most patients have to resort to self-administered blood tests via pricking a finger or similar, multiple times per day.
Tears can provide a good barometer of glucose levels in the body, but historically there has not been a good way to access them easily to take measurements. Integration of the sensing technology into a contact lens is an elegant solution to this problem, albeit one with significant technical hurdles to overcome before something like this could become an actual product.
It’s been an eventful few months for Google’s efforts around mechatronics. This announcement followed shortly after they announced they were buying Nest for $3.2B. It’s heartening to see them making both big and small bets on smart technology and I look forward to watching their continued progress.