Recently Google collaborated with the Swiss drug-makers Novartis and just a few days ago announced that they would be creating a one-of-a-kind contact lens that would enable diabetics to actually measure their blood glucose levels as well as allow the elderly to significantly improve their vision.
As crazy is it might sound, these futuristic lenses will allow diabetics to analyze the glucose level in the tear fluid and actually redistribute the data obtained to a mobile device, preventing them from having to dot their fingertips everyday to keep track of their blood sugar. But the action doesn’t stop there: the lenses will even give the elderly advanced “superpowers”, giving them the ability to focus and zoom in on nearby objects, just like a camera. This feature cures the common presbyopia syndrome, when aging eyes gradually get reduced eye-sight, giving them a little more trouble seeing things up close.
Now you would probably wonder how much technology you could actually collect in an item so small and fragile. Well the sensors in the actual lenses are described as “so small they look like bits of glitter,” and the gadget that is used to analyze the glucose level is thinner than a strand of hair.
Joe Jimenez, the CEO of Novartis, said that he expects this technology to be available to the public in about five years as he explains to Reuters:
This really brings high-technology and combines it with biology and that’s a very exciting combination for us. I think you’re going to see more and more areas of unmet medical need where companies like Novartis are going to take a non-traditional approach to addressing those unmet needs.
Believe it or not, but the blood sugar-tracking market is significantly profitable (never thought I’d say that), with an expected worth of over $12 billion by 2017, so definitely something to look into. Not only will this advanced technology simplify and make tracking glucose levels so much easier, but it will also lower the cost of managing diabetes significantly. As of today, Novartis expects to have the first prototype ready by early 2015.
Picture Credit: Google