Google have unveiled an example of smart, wearable technology that could in future prove a life-saver for diabetes sufferers. They have succeeded in integrating a tiny glucose sensor and associated circuitry into a soft plastic contact lens.


With the incidents of diabetes growing in the population it is becoming a major problem for health authorities worldwide. To get a reliable blood-glucose reading today’s diabetics regularly suffer the inconvenience of testing a pin prick of blood in a hand-held glucose monitoring unit. The contact lens sensor in development by Google is powered in much the same way as an RFID tag which uses energy induced in a pickup coil from a close-proximity transmitter to send out its ID information. The Google lens sensor has hair-thin aerial elements around the circumference of the lens which pick up a signal produced, presumably from spectacle frames or Google Glass headwear. The signal is sent at one second intervals and is sufficient to power the glucose sensor and return its measurement taken from the tear solution which bathes the eye.


Google suggested that further improvements could see integrated colored LEDs to give immediate indication to the wearer of their blood-glucose reading.