Wow! Contact lens to measure glucose in tears!

Google announced a prototype of a contact lens that measures glucose levels in tears “using a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material.” It can read glucose once per second. Integrated with tiny LED lights, the lens would light up to indicate the glucose levels above or below certain thresholds. iHealthBeats provides info on clinical research trials of the lens.

What does this lens have to do with Big Data? Imagine if only a half of diabetics in the US alone — that is about 15 Million now — start wearing such lenses, and data, read every second, will be collected in some central database on Cloud — to be accessible for monitoring and providing services for patients, doctors and researchers via mobile apps — that will be 15 Million data points (plus meta-data) collected every second, or 54 Billion every day, 20 Trillion every year.

Now, imagine that all diabetics in the world (381 Million now and 592 Million projected by 2035) and pre-diabetics (35% of the US adults over 20, i.e., 110 Million in the US, or at least 1 Billion in the world) — more than a Billion people  now — monitor glucose level with such lenses. Then we talk about real Big Data: 1 Billion data points per second, 3.6 Trillion per day, 1.3 Quadrillions (1.3E+15) data points per year, which is 2.6E+15 bytes, or 2.6 petabytes per year (if to use 2 bytes per each measurement, and not considering meta-data. Glucose in blood is measured in the range from 10 to 2,350 mg/dL; the latter number is from the Guinness  book of World Records.) In practice, it might no need to report data each second; data averaged for each 10-30 minutes will be enough. While, still meta-data, at least time and a person ID will be needed, assuming that all other personal data — geo-location, type of a person activity, and other measurements useful for searching patterns — will come from the cell phone and other sensors.

The technology used in this lens is not provided, while from the picture it looks like RFID chip, which power might be assisted by a mobile phone.


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