Google has an active branch within the organization that works on a variety of life science issues, like the contact lenses that are being developed that may include a means to monitor glucose levels. Although not “sexy” the work could be some of the most important the company pursues. A new patent application for a needle-free system to draw blood shows yet another project Google has been working on.
The patent application describes a device that fires a microparticle into the skin using a gas-powered mechanism. Negative pressure would then enable the collection of a small amount of blood from the point where the microparticle enters the skin layer.
The description provided by Google indicates the microparticle could penetrate to a distance of .25 mm to 2 mm. This is sufficient to induce a “micro-emergence” of blood released by the impacted tissue, an amount described by Google as what you might get from a mosquito bite. Although this is a small amount, it would be sufficient for medical testing purposes in a variety of situations.
Google’s application explains part of the success of the system is the fact that the size of the microparticle is below the threshold that would trigger a pain sensation for a patient. Google notes that the use of lancets of increasing smaller sizes is that they become too weak to pierce the skin, which was part of the reason for working on a different solution.
Google describes devices using this new technology that are designed for single use as well as multi-use devices that may be worn similar to a smartwatch. However, it is not clear whether Google would be able to produce and get the necessary approvals to make this device an actual product. Anyone who does not enjoy having to give up a small amount of blood via a pin prick certainly hopes so.