Google patented a blood-sucking smartwatch

This wearable concept could help diabetics but is it part of the Life Sciences line-up?
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Pulse reading smartwatches and step counting fitness trackers getting a little too close for comfort? You won't like Google's latest patent.

It details a blood-sucking smartwatch, which uses a needle-free blood draw system and is aimed at diabetics who can draw a small amount of blood for glucose tests. The patent, discovered by The Verge, was filed way back in May 2014 but has only just been made public by the US Patent & Trademark Office.

Read this: Wearables for good - why are tech companies altruistic?

It refers to a wristband which holds the device in place and says that the blood drawing could be either automatic or manual. Images show a few different variations of what is essentially finger pricking (via a micro-particle) so as well as a smartwatch-type device, Google was also experimenting with a hand-held bit of kit that you stick on the end of a finger. The blood is sucked up into a negative pressure barrel once it's released. Hence, blood sucking.

The Life Sciences lab

It's likely that this research and patent will be combined with what Life Sciences, the future-gazing spin-off of Google X, has been doing. Its work in health management and disease prevention includes wearable activity monitors and glucose monitoring contact lenses, which we recently learned could even run on solar power.

It's not even the most outlandish thing the Google X/Life Sciences teams have been working on. Late in 2014, we heard details of a cancer detecting system that involves a wearable band and a pill, containing magnetised nanoparticles, which the wearer swallows.

We haven't seen any product launches yet and we don't know if this system is actually in development. But it's only a matter of time before we see a sensor-packed, medical grade device, perhaps aimed specifically at diabetics.


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Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

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