The computer giant Microsoft has teamed up with the University of Washington to produce some prototype smart contact lenses that are aimed to help diabetics measure their glucose levels.
They are currently described as putting the finishing touches to the proposed product and are looking to bring the innovative product to the market as soon as possible.
Gadget or medical aid?
As much as Microsoft are known for computer software and hi-tech gadgets, some of which would not look out of place in a cutting-edge science fiction film, it is safe to say that this proposed product will not be classed in the same category as facial recognition software for Xbox or any other similar innovation designed for enhancing our entertainment.
These lenses won’t be beaming Call of Duty onto your eyeball just yet, they have a far more scientific and some would say far more worthy purpose than that, helping diabetic sufferers get through the day in a much less painless way than they do at the moment.
You may be quite happy with cheap lenses at the moment but if you are a diabetic then the opportunity to measure your glucose levels using smart lenses rather than have to use a needle several times a day to check your levels, will certainly have a fair degree of appeal.
Microsoft hope that once these contact lenses have been fully developed and thoroughly tested, the lives of many diabetics will be made considerably easier and allow them to benefit from state-of-the-art technology.
How they work
Many of us use smartphones and there are many apps available that make our life easier and tasks more manageable. The smart contact lenses being developed will have tiny glucose sensors on the lenses that will be able to communicate wirelessly with an app or your computer giving real-time readings on their glucose levels.
The lenses will measure the glucose levels in the tears and eye fluid of diabetes sufferers. Type 1 diabetes sufferers currently have to monitor their levels using a needle several times a day and it is hoped that this new technology will allow wearers to constantly monitor their glucose levels simply by interpreting data transmitted from the readings generated by the smart contact lenses.
Smart contact lenses are not just confined to the labs of Microsoft and the University of Washington, the US Department of Defense has been testing iOptik contact lenses that will give the wearer the ability to multi-focus or dual-focus. It has promising military implications for soldiers in the field who will potentially have a greater visual advantage than their opponent, but there are plans to make the technology commercially available in 2014.
It is feasible that in the future your eyes could be capable of enhanced and even 3D vision combined with the medical benefits of being able to check your glucose levels if you have the need to do so.
If the organizations behind these two projects were to combine their resources at some point then the wearer would definitely feel that science fiction had just become a whole lot more realistic.
About the Author
Richard Phillips is a lifelong diabetic and nurse. You can find his informative articles on various Internet blog sites.