Now Google has joined the game. The mega-company has patented a device that can take tiny blood samples without needles. Google’s device uses a micro-particle to pierce the skin. Pressurised gas is used to drive the micro-particle into the skin releasing a tiny drop of blood that is sucked up into a negative pressure chamber. This design, like the vaccine patch, uses a very tiny object to pierce the skin causing little or no pain.
The new blood-sucking device would have to be held against the skin to work and Google has listed a smart watch as a possible way to do this in the patent application.
This design is great, but unless Google is also planning on inventing new ways to analyse blood (which they probably are), the tiny amount of blood collected by their device would only be useful for a small number of tests such as testing blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. A separate company called Theranos has claimed it can run 30 tests on one drop of blood, but they don’t have good scientific data to back up this claim and are now in trouble with the FDA.
However even if the new device can only be used to test blood glucose, Google will get a slice of a billion dollar pie – around $180 billion dollars is spent each year on diagnosing and managing Diabetes in the US alone.
If you want to know more, Google’s patent application can be found here.