Technology giant Google has filed a patent for a blood glucose-measuring system that circumvents the need for finger-pricking.
The device, known as the “Needle-Free Blood Draw” uses a surge of gas to penetrate the skin and draw a tiny amount of blood – almost nothing compared to the amount of blood that people with diabetes currently need to draw. According to preliminary designs, the device could work as a small cylinder placed on the fingertip or be worn on the wrist.
Google is yet to announce exactly what medical application the device will have, but the designs revealed by Google suggest another effort to develop innovative technologies for people with diabetes – a growing and potentially lucrative market. Among other things, the patent states that “[s]uch an application might be used to draw a small amount of blood, for example, for a glucose test.” That said, Google refuses to even confirm that the device will ever be made.
“We hold patents on a variety of ideas – some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don’t,” a Google spokesman told The Verge. “Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patents.”
It would not, however, be the first time that Google has taken an interest in blood glucose testing innovations. In 2014, the technology giant announced work on a smart contact lens, which uses tears to measure the user’s blood glucose levels.
Since then, Google has filed several more patents, and packaging designs have become available online. These developments suggest that work on the device is far more advanced than many people assumed.