Imagine a biosensing contact lens that can tell when your blood sugar is getting too low, or if there’s something wrong with one of your organs. By leveraging the power of ultra-thin transistor technology, researchers from Oregon State University have taken us a step closer to achieving that goal.
A research team led by Oregon State professor Gregory Herman has developed a transparent biosensor that, when added to a contact lens, could conceivably be used to detect symptoms an array of health conditions. Currently, a lab-tested prototype can only detect blood glucose levels, but in the future, the team believes it could detect other medical conditions, possibly even cancer. It’ll be a few years before we see such futuristic contact lenses on pharmacy shelves, but the technologies required to build this noninvasive diagnostic device largely exists today. This research will be presented today at the 253rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
When he embarked on the project, Herman was looking for a better way to help people with diabetes. Today, diabetics can continuously monitor their blood glucose levels with electrodes implanted under the skin. Trouble is, this form of monitoring can be painful and cause skin irritations and infections. A disposable, biosensing contact lens would be more practical, safer, and far less intrusive.
Image Credit: Jack Forkey/Oregon State University