Verily, previously Google Life Sciences, is putting a hold on its program to build a contact lens that can monitor glucose in tears.
Glucose is fundamentally hard to measure. Among other challenges, the body doesn’t have a lot of it, and it lacks distinguishing features. Plus, experts say the contact lens program was misguided from the beginning. Tears are an unreliable measure of blood glucose, John L. Smith, former chief scientific officer of Johnson & Johnson’s glucose monitoring division and author of The Pursuit of Noninvasive Glucose: Hunting the Deceitful Turkey, told The Verge. Glucose in tears simply doesn’t track closely enough with glucose in the blood.
Today’s development is the latest sign of a change in Google’s health initiatives, as the company recently hired a CEO to organize its fragmented health initiatives. Though Verily will continue research on smart lenses to address farsightedness and cataracts, the end of the glucose monitoring project itself is hardly surprising.
Or, Google found more interesting commercial applications for the technology developed so far.