Google has just taken a strange turn in the health world.
Is Google about to take a huge dive into the health industry?
The search engine giant has just filed a patent for a “needle-free blood draw” system that could be worn on your wrist and help people who need regular draws to get blood quickly and painlessly, according to a The Verge report.
The patent was just published this week and is therefore still pending. It lays out how the blood draw system would work: it would send gas into a barrel with a micro-particle that would pierce the skin, releasing blood that is quickly sucked up in the barrel that has negative pressure.
This technology would obviously be useful to people who suffer from diabetes and must monitor their blood glucose levels regularly.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean Google is ready to roll out a line of needle-free blood tests. The company may simply be reserving important new technologies in the event it does want to pursue it, but it doesn’t always pursue every idea. Patents are a sign of interest but definitely not a sure sign that Google plans to actually create such a product.
Still, it’s an interesting development for the company that shows its continued efforts to expand beyond its role as a search engine giant and information aggregator and organizer.
It wouldn’t be the first time Google has pursued health-related products: its Life Sciences department has also worked on small contact lenses and a tiny cloud-connected sensor that would help people monitor blood glucose.
The abstract from the patent filing describes it as: “A device can include an evacuated negative-pressure barrel with a membrane sealing an aperture at a distal end, and a housing affixed to a proximal end. An accelerator barrel can be positioned within the negative-pressure barrel and fixed to the housing, with an open proximal end in a chamber in the housing, and an open distal end aligned with the aperture. The chamber can be filled with pressurized gas, and a trigger valve can hydrostatically separate the chamber from the open proximal end of the accelerator barrel. A micro-particle positioned within the accelerator barrel can be accelerated to high speed by an abrupt surge of gas by releasing the trigger valve. The micro-particle can attain enough momentum to pierce the aperture membrane and penetrate adjacent dermal tissue. A resulting micro-emergence of blood can be drawn into the negative pressure barrel.”