Microsoft, U. of Washington creating e-contact lenses to measure glucose levels

Advances in IT soon could help diabetics measure and record blood sugar levels in the blink of an eye--literally. Researchers from the University of Washington and Microsoft are working on building technology into contact lenses that could measure and report blood sugar levels wirelessly with the help of tear fluid, according to a recent Gizmag report.

Desney Tan, a senior researcher with Microsoft Research Connections, told Gizmag that "tiny, flexible electronics" would be embedded into lenses, with glucose readings going to wireless local devices, at least initially. "As the enzyme interacts with the tear fluid, specific measurements are made by observing the change in current measured by biocompatible electrodes on the contact lens," he said.

Ultimately, Tan said, the goal is to have such information displayed directly on the lens, eliminating the need for a secondary device, something the UW researchers have been working on since 2010, according to a HealthLeaders Media article.

As early as 2009, Gizmag reported, University of Western Ontario researchers were working on creating contact lenses that changed color when glucose levels varied.

That technology, however, was dependent on chemical reactions, whereas this latest iteration doesn't require a change in glucose levels--nor does it change color.

The lens is not yet ready for "in-situation trials," according to Tan.

To learn more:
- read the Gizmag article
- here's the HealthLeaders Media piece
- here's the Gizmag story from 2009

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