The idea of creating smart lenses, which project augmented reality or simply help people see better, isn’t new at all. But scientists from University of Oregon have something even more impressive up their sleeves. They plan to create the lenses which could basically scan your body. Such lenses could determine if blood sugar level of a particular person gets too low or if there’s something wrong with any internal organ.
The technology was demonstrated during the 253rd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society. To make everything work, the scientists have invented a transparent bio-sensor which can be integrated into lenses and used for diagnosing illnesses. The first prototype has already been and it’s capable of measuring blood glucose level. What’s more, this invention can be potentially used for finding other, more serious diseased, even including cancer.
The original intention of Professor Gregory Herman was to find a way to help people suffering from diabetes. There were no painless ways to do constant monitoring of blood glucose level but smart lenses can solve this problem. Professor Herman took and applied the same semi-conductor technology that is used in TVs, smartphones and tablets. In order to create the first prototype, the scientists made a bio-sensor containing IGZO-transistors and a glucose-destroying element – glucose oxydaze. During a rather complicated sequence of actions, the tiny nano-structures, built into the sensor, are able to locate small percentages of glucose in tears.
Professor Herman also said that glucose isn’t the only thing that can be traced in tears. Using other kinds of sensors, it may become possible to acquire other information and diagnose such diseases as sepsis, liver illnesses, glaucoma and even cancer. And that’s what scientists are aspiring to do right now.
Ideally, the technology will be tested in animals next year. And we hope that we’ll see bio-sensor lenses in medical use in a few years.