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Google Develops Glucose-Detectable Contact Lens

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- You may have heard of Google (GOOG) Glass, the revolutionary lens that allows people to film what they see or browse the Internet, using voice commands to summon information on a small screen in their peripheral vision.

Now the technicians at Google X -- a lab at Google that works to develop breakthough technology -- have developed a prototype lens to detect glucose levels in the blood. It uses two layers of contact lens, which embed between them a wireless chip and a miniaturized glucose sensor built to measure glucose levels in tears.

The lens is designed to generate one blood-sugar-level reading per second, which could serve as an early warning of low or high glucose levels to the wearer.

Google X project co-founders Brian Otis and Babak Parviz are working with the Food and Drug Administration and potential investors and partners to make this health technology available on a wider market.

High blood sugar in diabetics can cause the lens of the eye to swell, shrink and change color, which can lead to blurry vision. It can also lead to other health complications such as heart and kidney diseases. Low blood sugar can cause sufferers to go unconscious. 

If the lens were made affordable enough, it could reach parts of the world where diabetes is often neglected -- in poor countries, conflict zones, refugee camps and areas affected by natural disasters.

In developed countries, many diabetics regularly check their blood sugar levels with a pinprick of blood and strips, an often onerous routine.

So the impact of the contact lens from Google could be huge, potentially helping millions of diabetics.

At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stock mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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