Google has said it is testing a “smart contact lens” that can help measure glucose levels in tears.
It uses a “tiny” wireless chip and a “miniaturised” glucose sensor embedded between two layers of lens material.
The firm said it is also working on integrating tiny LED lights that could light up to indicate that glucose levels have crossed certain thresholds. But it added that “a lot more work” needed to be done to get the technology ready for everyday use. “It’s still early days for this technology, but we’ve completed multiple clinical research studies which are helping to refine our prototype. We hope this could someday lead to a new way for people with diabetes to manage their disease.”
“It is likely to spur a range of other innovations towards miniaturizing technology and using it in wearable devices to help people monitor their bodies better”
Many global firms have been looking to expand in the wearable technology sector – seen by many as a key growth area in the coming years. Various estimates have said the sector is expected to grow by between $10bn and $50bn (£6bn and £31bn) in the next five years. Within the sector, many firms have been looking specifically at technology targeted at healthcare.
Scientists are also developing special tattoos which may allow those with diabetes to more accurately and quickly monitor their glucose levels. Two different research teams, led by Michael Strano at MIT and Heather Clark at Draper Labs, have developed two different types of nanotech ‘ink’ which would be injected in the skin and change fluorescence depending on your blood sugar. Both types of tattoo would require an external device to measure and translate this fluorescence. While still in the very early stages of development, these glucose tattoos could one day improve the lives of diabetics by giving themselves a built-in monitor for their condition. Robotics and genetics may provide the near term revolution in healthcare but this work shows that embedded nanotechnology has the potential to create even larger innovations thereafter.
I am not a scientist – but I can imagine that if this sort of technology can be used to measure glucose, it could surely be adapted to measure Oestrogen and Progesterone levels within the female body. Imagine ladies – no more peeing on sticks, no more early morning thermometers, no more “Does that feel slippery or not?”!
With the new medical technology that is emerging, people will look back over the 20th century as a savage pharmaceutical orgy, where symptoms were treated – not people, and side effects were considered normal. The fact that it was considered the norm for women to constantly pump their bodies full of synthetic hormones to avoid conceiving will be regarded as barbaric as the medieval practice of blood-letting.
Soon i will be able to see exactly where i am in my cycle by scanning my arm, or seeing what colour my tattoo is. I will receive an email to tell me i have ovulated!
Technology will eradicate the pill – mark my words.