Google (now Alphabet) might be joining the needle-free blood test party. As the company has filed a patent for a “needle-free blood draw” system that can be used either as a wearable on a person’s wrist or as a hand-held device that takes blood from a fingertip or other parts of the body.
The patent, which was published today and is still pending, describes a blood draw system that works by sending a surge of gas into a barrel containing a micro-particle that pierces the skin. Once blood is released from the skin, it’s sucked up into the negative pressure barrel. “Such an application might be used to draw a small amount of blood, for example, for a glucose test,” Google explains. This means that the technology could end up being used to help people with diabetes. We emailed Google about to ask about this, and a spokesperson replied “we hold patents on a variety of ideas — some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don’t. Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patents.”
Given Life Sciences current projects, a focus on diabetes wouldn’t be that surprising. The company is already working two devices designed to help diabetics monitor their glucose levels: smart contact lenses and a bandage-sized, cloud-connected sensor to help people monitor their glucose levels. If these projects are successful — and if they gain FDA clearance — that could mean big business for Google; about 2371 million people in the world have diabetes.
Given the nature of patents, it’s hard to tell if Google is actually working on this device at all.
Image Credit: medicaldaily