Google contact lens could be option for diabetics

 

Google contact lens could be option for diabetics This undated photo released by Google shows a contact lens Google is testing to explore tear glucose. After years of scalding soldering hair-thin wires to miniaturize electronics, Brian Otis, Google X project lead, has burned his fingertips so often that he can no longer feel the tiny chips he made from scratch in Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters, a small price to pay for what he says is the smallest wireless glucose sensor that has ever been made. (AP Photo/Google)

Google contact lens could be option for diabetics
This undated photo released by Google shows a contact lens Google is testing to explore tear glucose. After years of scalding soldering hair-thin wires to miniaturize electronics, Brian Otis, Google X project lead, has burned his fingertips so often that he can no longer feel the tiny chips he made from scratch in Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters, a small price to pay for what he says is the smallest wireless glucose sensor that has ever been made. (AP Photo/Google)

January 16, 2014  Martha Mendoza AP

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) – Brian Otis gingerly holds what looks like a typical contact lens on his index finger. Look closer. Sandwiched in this lens are two twinkling glitter-specks loaded with tens of thousands of miniaturized transistors. It’s ringed with a hair-thin antenna. Together these remarkable miniature electronics can monitor glucose levels in tears of diabetics and then wirelessly transmit them to a handheld device.

“It doesn’t look like much, but it was a crazy amount of work to get everything so very small,” he said before the project was unveiled Thursday.

During years of soldering hair-thin wires to miniaturize electronics, Otis burned his fingertips so often that he can no longer feel the tiny chips he made from scratch in Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters, a small price to pay for what he says is the smallest wireless glucose sensor ever made.

Just 35 miles away in the beach town of Santa Cruz, high school soccer coach and university senior Michael Vahradian, 21, has his own set of fingertip callouses, his from pricking himself up to 10 times a day for the past 17 years to draw blood for his glucose meter. A cellphone-sized pump on his hip that attaches to a flexible tube implanted in his stomach shoots rapid-acting insulin into his body around the clock.

“I remember at first it was really hard to make the needle sticks a habit because it hurt so much,” he said. “And there are still times I don’t want to do it _ it hurts and it’s inconvenient. When I’m hanging out with friends, heading down to the beach to body-surf or going to lunch, I have to hold everyone up to take my blood sugar.”

The idea that all of that monitoring could be going on passively, through a contact lens, is especially promising for the world’s 382 million diabetics who need insulin and keep a close watch on their blood sugar.

The prototype, which Google says will take at least five years to reach consumers, is one of several medical devices being designed by companies to make glucose monitoring for diabetic patients more convenient and less invasive than traditional finger pricks.

The contact lenses were developed during the past 18 months in the clandestine Google X lab that also came up with a driverless car, Google’s Web-surfing eyeglasses and Project Loon, a network of large balloons designed to beam the Internet to unwired places.

But research on the contact lenses began several years earlier at the University of Washington, where scientists worked under National Science Foundation funding. Until Thursday, when Google shared information about the project with The Associated Press, the work had been kept under wraps.

“You can take it to a certain level in an academic setting, but at Google we were given the latitude to invest in this project,” Otis said. “The beautiful thing is we’re leveraging all of the innovation in the semiconductor industry that was aimed at making cellphones smaller and more powerful.”

American Diabetes Association board chair Dwight Holing said he’s gratified that creative scientists are searching for solutions for people with diabetes but warned that the device must provide accurate and timely information.

“People with diabetes base very important health care decisions on the data we get from our monitors,” he said.

Other non-needle glucose monitoring systems are also in the works, including a similar contact lens by Netherlands-based NovioSense, a minuscule, flexible spring that is tucked under an eyelid. Israel-based OrSense has already tested a thumb cuff, and there have been early designs for tattoos and saliva sensors.

A wristwatch monitor was approved by the FDA in 2001, but patients said the low level electric currents pulling fluid from their skin was painful, and it was buggy.

“There are a lot of people who have big promises,” said Dr. Christopher Wilson, CEO of NovioSense. “It’s just a question of who gets to market with something that really works first.”

Palo Alto Medical Foundation endocrinologist Dr. Larry Levin said it was remarkable and important that a tech firm like Google is getting into the medical field and that he’d like to be able to offer his patients a pain-free alternative from either pricking their fingers or living with a thick needle embedded in their stomach for constant monitoring.

“Google, they’re innovative, they are up on new technologies, and also we have to be honest here, the driving force is money,” he said.

Worldwide, the glucose-monitoring devices market is expected to be more than $16 billion by the end of this year, according to analysts at Renub Research.

The Google team built the wireless chips in clean rooms and used advanced engineering to get integrated circuits and a glucose sensor into such a small space.

Researchers also had to build in a system to pull energy from incoming radio frequency waves to power the device enough to collect and transmit one glucose reading per second. The embedded electronics in the lens don’t obscure vision because they lie outside the eye’s pupil and iris.

Google is now looking for partners with experience bringing similar products to market. Google officials declined to say how many people worked on the project or how much the firm has invested in it.

Dr. David Klonoff, medical director of the diabetes research institute at Mills-Peninsula Health Services in San Mateo, worked with Google to see whether glucose is present in tears and whether the amount of glucose is proportional to the amount of glucose in blood. He’s still analyzing but optimistic about his findings and warns there are many potential pitfalls.

“Already this has some breakthrough technologies, but this is a moonshot, there are so many challenges,” he said.

One is figuring out how to correlate glucose levels in tears as compared with blood. And what happens on windy days, while chopping onions or during very sad movies? As with any medical device, it would need to be tested and proved accurate, safe, and at least as good as other types of glucose sensors available now to win FDA approval.

Karen Rose Tank, who left her career as an economist to be a health and wellness coach after her Type 1 diabetes diagnosis 18 years ago, also is encouraged that new glucose monitoring methods may be on the horizon.

“It’s really exciting that some of the big tech companies are getting into this market,” she said. “They bring so much ingenuity; they’re able to look outside the box.”

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Follow Martha Mendoza at https://twitter.com/mendozamartha

Google strikes energy deal with Native American firm

Google strikes deal with a small, Native American-owned firm called Chermac Energy, which is developing the Happy Hereford wind farm outside Amarillo, Texas.

Source: USA Today

Google needs a lot of energy to keep its data centers humming around the world. That can get dirty, environmentally, so the the world’s largest Internet search company is trying to get its power from renewable sources.

The latest effort, announced Tuesday, is a deal with a small, Native American-owned firm called Chermac Energy, which is developing the Happy Hereford wind farm outside Amarillo, Texas.

Google said it agreed to buy the entire 240 megawatt output of the wind farm, which is expected to start producing energy in late 2014.

This is Google’s fifth long-term energy agreement like this and its largest so far. The company has contracts for more than 570 megawatts of wind energy – enough to power about 170,000 houses, it noted.

Google can’t use this energy directly in its data centers, but the company gets credit for the renewable energy and sells it to the wholesale market. That’s a contrast to some other parts of the world. In Sweden, Google said it can buy wind energy and use it in its Hamina, Finland data center.

Data centers use a lot of energy, so sourcing power efficiently gives technology companies an edge. In early 2010, Google got a license to trade energy on the wholesale market, which allows the company to buy in bulk, a useful advantage.

Google Teams with National Congress of American Indians for Indigenous Mapping Day

Source: Native News Network

WASHINGTON – Many tribal communities in the United States lack accurate mapping information pertaining to roads, buildings, and information on services available to tribal members and the general public.

This week there is an unique opportunity for tribes to give input into a mapping project through Google.

In honor of the United Nation’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, the National Congress of American Indians, Google Map Maker, Google Earth Outreach and the Google American Indian Network have teamed up and are proud to present Google’s first ever Indigenous Mapping Day on August 9.

A MapUp is a group of people coming together to improve how Google Maps represents their community. You and the members of your tribal community can add local roads, schools, health facilities, tribal offices and more. You can even map in your tribe’s native language. Google Map Maker currently supports Cherokee, Navajo, Inuktitut, Inupiaq, Kalaallisut, and Hawaiian languages.

Tribal Community Empowerment

Christopher Kalluk

Christopher Kalluk, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporation,
Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada

 

Google Map Maker is a tool that allows tribal governments, businesses, and individual citizens to take ownership of their communities as represented on Google Maps, Google Earth, and Google Maps for Mobile.

This tool allows these entities to add to, edit, and improve digital local maps by mapping tribal offices, medical facilities, local roads, and everything in between! Anything from structures, landscapes, or ATM locations can be identified on Google Maps by using the Map Maker tool.

Google crossing the creepy line

By Monica Brown, Tulalip News Writer

Google is selling ad space according to what you talk about in your emails. Curiosity overcame me and I decided to check these solicited ads out myself and I found that they were there. I sent emails containing key words back and forth between two accounts and sure enough the ads adjusted to them. You can see in the photo they solicited diamond engagement rings, a Subaru Forester and home mortgage rates.

My news alert gmail account

My news alert gmail account

Opting out for the ads is not possible and changing your ad settings will continuously bring the user to a server timeout page. This is what Google has to say for their actions,

“…There’s what I call the creepy line and the Google policy about a lot of these things is to get right up to the creepy line but not cross it.” Says Eric Schmidt, Google executive chairman. Whether it’s about privacy or a large company profiting off of your private conversations it’s still your choice to partake.

Outlook.com has launched the Don’t Get Scroogled by Gmail national campaign in order to inform and educate people about how Google goes through your email contents in order to sell target ads. The campaign can be seen here at http://www.scroogled.com

Outlook.com wants to send the message to Google that going through personal email messages to sell ads is unacceptable and is encouraging consumers to sign the petition and tell Google to stop going through their emails to sell ads.

If consumers want to prioritize their privacy they can switch to Outlook.com, where they don’t read your emails and sell for ad space.

How the email skimming is done, Google goes through every single word of personal Gmail messages and uses that information to sell and target ads.As Google explains on its website,

“In Gmail, most of the ads we show appear next to an open email message and are related to the contents of the current email conversation or thread.” For example, if you write a friend to let her know you are separating from your husband, Google sells ads against this information to divorce lawyers, who post ads alongside it. Or if you ask a friend for vacation suggestions, Google will use this information to target you with ads from travel agencies or airlines that want your business.

Google will even use information from the emails of non-Gmail users to generate advertising income. Gmail goes through all incoming email messages, from any email provider, and sells ads based on the content of those emails — a practice that nearly 90 percent of Americans agree should end.

Currently, Google has six active class action lawsuits against them, all alleging illegal eavesdropping or interception under federal and state wiretapping laws, related to Google’s scanning of emails.

“Emails are personal — and people feel that reading through their emails to sell ads is out of bounds,” said Stefan Weitz , senior director of Online Services at Microsoft. “We honor the privacy of our Outlook.com users, and we are concerned that Google violates that privacy every time an Outlook.com user exchanges messages with someone on Gmail. This campaign is as much about protecting Outlook.com users from Gmail as it is about making sure Gmail users know what Google’s doing.”

 

New GfK Roper Poll: Public Largely Unaware and Strongly Disapproves of the Practice

A new GfK Roper poll, commissioned by Microsoft, shows that only 30 percent of Americans are aware that any email service goes through the content of personal emails to sell ads, and 88 percent of consumers disapprove of this practice.

Key results from this survey include the following:

  • 88 percent of Americans disapprove of email service providers scanning the content of your personal emails in order to target ads, and 52 percent disapprove strongly.
  • 89 percent of Americans agree that email service providers should not be allowed to scan the content of personal emails in order to target ads.
  • 83 percent of Americans agree that email service providers scanning the content of your personal emails to target ads is an invasion of privacy.
  • 70 percent of Americans didn’t believe or didn’t know that any major email service provider scans the content of personal emails in order to target ads.
  • 88 percent of email users believe that email service providers should allow users to “opt out” if they prefer that the content of their emails not be scanned in order to target ads.

Outlook.com believes their users should be informed about Google’s email privacy intrusions and consumers have a choice to switch to Outlook.com.

“Outlook.com believes your privacy is not for sale,” Weitz said. “We believe people should have choice and control over their private email messages, whether they are sharing banking information or pictures of their family or discussing their medical history.”

Weitz added, “Outlook.com does not scan the contents of your personal email to sell ads. Outlook.com is an email service that prioritizes your own and your family’s privacy. You wouldn’t let the post office look inside your mail, so why would you let Google?”

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

1 About this study: The RDD telephone survey was conducted Feb. 1-4, 2013 by GfK’s Public Affairs & Corporate Communications division, among a nationally representative sample of 1,006 adults ages 18 or older. Interviews were conducted with 753 respondents on landlines and 253 respondents on cellular telephones. The data were weighted on age, sex, education, race and geographic region. The margin of error on results based on the full sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Source: Scroogles.com