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Google develops contact lens to help diabetes patients

Google is developing a smart contact lens to help diabetes sufferers monitor their blood sugar levels

Tech giant Google has announced a project to help people suffering of diabetes by testing a smart contact lens that is designed to measure glucose levels in tears. The lens uses a tiny wireless chip and a miniaturised glucose sensor, embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material.

The firm has developed prototypes of the lenses that generate a reading every second. It is also exploring integrating tiny LED lights that will light up when glucose levels have crossed or dropped below certain thresholds.

“It’s still early days for this technology, but we’ve completed multiple clinical research studies which are helping to refine our prototype,” Brian Otis and Babak Parviz, project co-founders at Google said in a blog post. “We hope this could someday lead to a new way for people with diabetes to manage their disease.”

The firm said it is currently in discussions with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to bring this technology to the market and is looking for partners with expertise in bringing such solutions to market.

According to Google, diabetes affects one in 19 people globally. Without treatment, diabetes sufferers are at risk of damage to their eyes, kidneys and heart.

“We’ve always said that we’d seek out projects that seem a bit speculative or strange, and at a time when the International Diabetes Federation  is declaring that the world is “losing the battle” against diabetes, we thought this project was worth a shot,” Otis and Parviz wrote.

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