CORVALLIS, Ore. -- It's groundbreaking technology that can save lives.
Engineers at Oregon State University are working on a transparent sensor that can be built into a contact lens.
The sensor would be able to monitor glucose levels of those living with Type 1 diabetes.
"We have fully transparent sensors that are working," said Greg Herman, an OSU professor of chemical engineering.
The sensor could be added to both prescription and non-prescription contact lenses. Instead of measuring glucose levels in a person's blood, it would measure them in their tears.
It would then send that information to a cellphone or to an insulin pump, if the person is wearing one.
"The idea is to be able to make these at low enough costs that its not going to add significantly to the prescription contact lens cost," Herman said.
Kathy Hanavan was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 25 years ago.
She currently wears a sensor implanted under her skin that monitors her glucose, but some day would love to try out the high-tech contact lens.
"I'm pretty open about my diabetes but there are times when you don't want all your stuff hanging out there, like at the beach," Kathy said.
Google has been working on a glucose-monitoring contact lens as well, but its sensor is not transparent. It is clearly visible on the lens.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is sponsoring OSU's research.
Herman hopes to have the totally transparent glucose-monitoring contacts available within the next five years.