Google's next project: will it be a medical device?

Steven Loeb · January 10, 2014 · Short URL:

Google employees recently met with the FDA; many involved specialized in eye devices and biosensors

Google is definitely not a company that rests on its laurels. So what if they have one of the most anticipated, potentially game changing, devices in years coming out very soon in Google Glass? The company already has its sight set on its next innovative device. 

This time it looks like it could be a new type of medical device.

Google recently sent employees, some with connections to its mysterious Google X research facility, to meet with the Food and Drug Administration for a meet and greet, according to a report from Bloomberg on Friday.

What was actually discussed at the meeting is, of course, not known, but we can speculate based on the representatives sent by each side. The meeting included at least four Google workers, some who have done research on sensors, including contact lenses that help wearers monitor their biological data.

On Google's side, one of the participants was Andrew Conrad, who joined X last year and is a former chief scientist at Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings and co-founder of its National Genetics Institute.

Among those in attendees also included Brian Otis and Zenghe “Zach” Liu. 

Otis previously worked on biosensors and holds a patent that involves a wireless powered contact lens with a biosensor, while Liu formerly worked for the medical-device manufacturer Abbott Laboratories, and holds a patent that involves devices that use bodily fluids to read levels of human substances, such as glucose or cholesterol.

For the FDA, the meeting included the head of the agency’s office that reviews device applications for marketing approval, and the FDA adviser who wrote the agency’s guidelines for mobile medical apps. Also in attendance were those at the FDA who regulate eye devices and diagnostics for heart conditions.

So it could be that Google's next project could involve some kind of medical device, or contact lens, that uses a biosensor to monitor a users health based on the fluid in their eye.

Or not. Like I said, this is pure speculation at this point. But that would be in keeping with Google's penchant for big, technically innovative projects.

A spokesperson for the FDA confirmed that the meeting did take place, and pointed us toward the FDA’s public calendar, but did not offer any specifics as to what was discussed.

VatorNews has also reached out to both Google to get more information. We will update if we learn more. 

Moonshot projects

The Google X research facility, which is located about a half mile from the corporate headquarters in Mountain View, is behind some of the company's "moonshot projects," or big, ambitious, world changing ideas that seem crazy when you first hear them.

That included Google Glass, the self driving car and Project Loon, which is Google's attempt to connect the entire world to the Internet by using balloons.

If Google's next project is a medical device, it would not be the first time that the company would be putting resources into a health project.

In September of last year, Google announced that it was launching a new company called Calico that is going to put its focus on health and well-being, particularly when it comes to aging and diseases associated with that process.

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