Biosensing contact lens named a top early-stage innovation

Illustration of a contact lens with embedded biosensors.
Fully transparent biosensor technology developed at Oregon State University could someday find its way into contact lenses that can monitor blood levels of glucose, therapeutic drugs, or other substances.

New biosensing contact lens technology developed at Oregon State University’s College of Engineering was chosen to receive a 2018 TechConnect National Innovation Award.

The technology, which incorporates an array of fully transparent biosensors within the lens, was developed in the lab of Greg Herman, professor of chemical engineering.

The biosensing contact lens has been envisioned as a noninvasive way for people with diabetes to monitor their blood glucose levels through their tear fluid. However, Herman says the technology could find ready applications in monitoring a variety of other health conditions.

“We can integrate an array of sensors into the lens and also test for other things: stress hormones, uric acid, pressure sensing for glaucoma, and things like that,” Herman said. “We can monitor many compounds in tears – and since the sensor is transparent, it doesn’t obstruct vision.”

The TechConnect Innovation Awards selects the top early-stage innovations from around the world through an industry-review process of the top 20 percent of annually submitted technologies into the TechConnect World Conference.  Rankings are based on the potential positive impact the submitted technology will have on a specific industry sector.

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