Jan 23, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Scientists Equipped Advanced Sensors With Contact Lenses To Diagnose Diabetes & Glaucoma

May 05, 2017 03:50 PM EDT

Remember the scene of “mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”, where Jeremy Renner wore advanced contact lenses to spy on villains? That movie gimmick is now inspiring scientists to make an advanced contact lens to monitor human health. UNIST researchers have proposed the possibility to equip nano-sized smart sensors for this process.

A group of UNIST researchers led by Materials Science and Engineering Professor Jang-Ung Park, Professor of life science Chang Young Lee and Professor Franklin Bien of Electrical and Computer Engineering conducted their studies with the collaboration of Professor Hong Kyun Kim of Ophthalmology and Professor Kwi-Hyun Bae of Internal Medicine at Kyungpook National University (KNU). They have prepared a smart sensor that is capable of monitoring biomarkers for intraocular pressure (IOP), diabetes mellitus, and other health conditions, in addition, it is so small in size that it can be easily assembled with contact lenses without hurting eyes.

In the journal of Nature Communications researchers described that the invention is the breakthrough in developing biosensors. Nowadays diabetes is a common problem in humans that is caused by high blood sugar levels. These contact lens sensors are engineered to measure blood sugar levels from the tears.

However, this concept is not new at all, several attempts have been made to monitor diabetes with contact lenses. According to ScienceDaily, its been a couple of decades, scientists were able to make this kind of contact lenses but it was not successful due to its bad wearability. Electrodes of the lenses were not transparent which obstruct the vision and the plastic material causes discomfort in eyes.

To get out from this issue, researchers made the sensor with fully transparent and flexible material. The electrodes of the contact lenses are highly stretchable as these are made of transparent graphene sheets and metal nanowires. In addition, this sensor does not need any external power source like batteries to power up.

Park and his team also embedded an antenna to transmit the health information to smartphones. Although, the contact lens not shaped into reality yet, but when it will be available in market patients will be able to track diabetes and glaucoma without spending a single penny.

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