Google files patent for ‘needle-free’ blood-drawing system

Google is getting into the blood business.

The company filed a patent for a device that draws blood “needle-free.”

The proposed device is gas-based, which would shoot out a micro-particle through a barrel to prick your skin. The “micro-emergence” of blood (the patent says it could be as little as 0.01 millilitres) would get sucked back into the barrel.

“This is small enough to be imperceptible, but large enough to carry out a wide variety of medical tests and/or monitoring,” says Google.

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The patent suggests two iterations of the device: a hand-held version where users pricks themselves and a hands-free version where the device is worn on the wrist with an automatic blood-drawing option.

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According to the patent, one of the potential uses for it could be to test glucose levels for diabetics.

Google told tech news site The Verge that it’s too early to say whether this device will develop into a consumer product.

“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.”

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This is not the first time Google has ventured into the world of blood-glucose testing.

In January 2014, Google unveiled its smart contact lens, which would monitor a person’s glucose levels in a diabetes patient’s tears.

“At Google[x], we wondered if miniaturized electronics […] might be a way to crack the mystery of tear glucose and measure it with greater accuracy,” wrote project co-founders Brian Otis and Babak Parviz

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