Should Google Have Access to Your Blood?
Smartwatches collect data about users’ heart rates and exercise and stress levels; now Google wants to collect users’ blood to monitor their blood glucose.
The multinational technology company has filed a patent for a “needle-free blood draw” system that would be built into smartwatches, or even handheld devices like smartphones.
The system works like this, according to the filing: the machine sends an “abrupt surge” of gas into a barrel housing a “micro-particle” that does indeed puncture the skin and draws a miniscule amount of blood. The droplet is then sucked up into a negative pressure barrel. Theoretically, the entire process would be quicker, easier, and less painful than even the most modern glucose meter used by diabetics.
In fact, Google believes the invention might one day replace glucose meters entirely.
The patent notes that the smallest possible puncture is desirable to cause as minimal pain as possible, but very small-diameter needles aren’t preferable because they can fail to pierce the skin or may snap because they’re not strong enough. The “micro-particle” solves this problem, the filing states.
Health data, gathered in the form of wearable gadgets like heart rate monitors and activity trackers, is the future for Google, Apple, and other technology companies that are practically tripping over each other to be the one to release the next big thing.