The company's experimental wing, Google[x], announced on Thursday its plan to test a prototype of a smart contact lens that would monitor the sugar levels of diabetes patients, possibly alerting them when glucose levels become dangerously high or low.
In a blog post, the project's cofounders, Brian Otis and Babak Parviz, wrote the following:
Although some people wear glucose monitors with a glucose sensor embedded under their skin, all people with diabetes must still prick their finger and test drops of blood throughout the day. 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 lens has a wireless chip embedded in it, along with a glucose sensor, to measure the glucose levels in a wearer's tears once per second. "We’re exploring integrating tiny LED lights that could light up to indicate that glucose levels have crossed above or below certain thresholds," the post says. Ideally, the lens would connect with an app that sends data to the wearer and their doctor.
The company admits the prototype still needs a lot of work, but it is already in talks with the FDA and is seeking partners to develop apps that integrate with the lens, and help bring the product to the market.