Microsoft had a role to play in Google’s Smart Contact Lens project

One in ten people in the world will have diabetes by 2035, predicts International Diabetes Foundation. The situation can get worse and therefore, worrisome. Nevertheless, we can find some solace through scientific breakthroughs that are made daily. Microsoft and Google champs believe with technology advancing and expanding by leaps and bounds we can limit or control the disease if not cure it completely.


Microsoft Endorses Basic Research

The Smart Contact Lenses project from Google is in the developing stages, but the project holds great promises.  Two scientists, Otis and Babak Parviz, working together at the University of Washington were the first to investigate the possibility of using tears (fluids) other than blood for glucose monitoring. Parviz joined Google X to work on Google Glassand Otis followed soon after and started trying to build a contact lens from scratch.

Although, Google may take credits for the latest developments in the project, it’s Microsoft Research that gave real impetus to the efforts of the scientists.

As Desney Tan, a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research recalls,

As background, my team and I here at Microsoft Research had the pleasure of supporting and working with Babak and Brian and a number of other collaborators very early in this project. Babak and Brian were still full-time faculty at the University of Washington. In our collaboration, we demonstrated the feasibility not only of embedding displays in the contact lenses, but more importantly, of glucose sensing as well. As one would imagine, we tackled numerous hard problems around miniaturization, wireless power, wireless communications and biocompatibility.

Tan manages the Computational User Experiences group in Redmond, Wash. He also holds an affiliate faculty appointment in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington.

The fight is long and difficult but Google hopes the technology could help people manage diabetes better. Also, Microsoft encourages continuing investing in basic research in an effort to improve the lives of as many people as possible.

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The author Hemant Saxena is a post-graduate in technology and has an immense interest in following Microsoft and other technology developments around the world. Quiet by nature, he is an avid Lacrosse player.