What does the future hold for that pint-sized computer on your wrist? It could soon yield real-time heart rates, blood sugar levels, and blood sugar pressure, among other information. The combined power of needle-free blood drawing and healthcare wearables could revolutionize healthcare information technology. Google’s patent was granted on
Thursday, December 3rd after applying in May of 2014. The company does not disclose the specific medical purpose, so it is unclear if or when this process will reach market.
The Google technology would revamp ordinary appliances into medical smartgear, designed with smartwatches, wearables, or other handheld gadgets in mind. Rather than a needle, a small vacuum will suck blood into a gas-based system:
The examples presented by Google show a small cylindrical device being used on a person’s fingertip or as a wrist-worn device, suggesting a future version of Android Wear might have advanced biometric capabilities. The potential device works by sending an “abrupt surge” of gas into a barrel that houses a microparticle, which pierces the skin. When the skin has been broken, Google says: “A resulting micro-emergence of blood can be drawn into the negative pressure barrel.”
Diabetic solutions are already a prevalent concern for the Google Life Sciences team, who have smart contact lenses with circuitry to monitor glucose levels and bandage-sized glucose monitors to detect sugar levels in the works. Diabetes affects nine percent of adults over 18 and is responsible for 1.5 million deaths worldwide in 2015. Similarly, Tasso Inc. has developed a vacuum-powered, nearly painless blood test that is set to launch in 2016.