Thursday, May 18, 2017

This contact lens will diagnose diabetes

If Google’s latest project is successful, the finger prick test for blood sugar levels could eventually become a thing of the past for diabetics, Katherine Tweed reports.
Google X lab is developing a smart contact lens that can measure glucose levels in tears using a small wireless chip and a miniaturized glucose sensor, according to the company’s blog. One in 10 people in the world are expected to have diabetes by 2035, according to the International Diabetes Federation. 
The chip and sensors, shrunken to the size of flecks of glitter, are embedded between two layers of soft contacts. The prototypes can generate one reading per second, and the developers are working on integrating miniature LED lights that could tell the wearer if glucose levels have gone above or below a set threshold.
Meanwhile, Dexter Johnson writes, researchers at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea have offered up at least one part of the puzzle: better wearability.
Through the use of a hybrid film made from graphene and silver nanowires, the UNIST researchers have made contact lenses for detecting multiple biomarkers that are clear and flexible.

The researchers used graphene-nanowire hybrid films to serve as conducting, transparent, and stretchable electrodes. While the hybrid film alone does not perform any detection, the electrodes do ensure that the electrodes in the contact lenses don’t obscure vision and that they’re flexible enough to make wearing the lenses comfortable.
Since I wear contact lenses and have diabetes, and need to be checked for glaucoma annually, I might try these out when they're ready.

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