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Smart Contact Lenses Could Monitor Disease and Give Humans Night-Vision

July 24, 2014, 12:00 AM

What's the Latest?

Google and contact lens maker Novartis have teamed up to create a contact lens that measure glucose levels in the eye with a device--about the size of a speck of glitter--that takes chemical readings. "A wireless antenna then transmits the measurements to an external device. It’s designed to ease the burden of diabetics who otherwise have to prick their fingers to test their blood sugar levels." Thomas Quinn, head of the American Optometric Association’s contact lens and cornea section, says the technology could help diabetics take back their life from their "part-time job" of monitoring their glucose. 

 What's the Big Idea?

Beyond glucose, the eye represents a fertile area for technological development since it affects how we see the world and contains many disease biomarkers. For example, "[t]ears also contain a chemical called lacryglobin that serves as a biomarker for breast, colon, lung, prostate, and ovarian cancers. Monitoring lacryglobin levels could be particularly useful for cancer patients who are in remission, Quinn says." At the University of Michigan, researchers are working on a contact lens which would function in place of night-vision goggles. The lens contains graphene which makes the eye sensitive to infrared light.

Read more at Technology Review

Photo credit: Shutterstock


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