Google has filed a patent for a needle-free blood drawing system that's designed for individuals who are required to frequently test their blood levels.
The "Needle-Free Blood Draw" device sends an "abrupt surge" of gas into a barrel with a micro-particle that can penetrate the skin without a needle. Once blood emerges from the skin, it's extracted via a negative pressure barrel. It is particularly useful to people with diabetes who need to keep their glucose levels in check.
"Such an application might be used to draw a small amount of blood, for example, for a glucose test," the patent says.
Google filed the patent back in May 28, 2014, and it has been approved on Dec. 3, 2015. The approval, however, doesn't guarantee that the blood-sampling device would see the light of day, just like the cases for most patents.
"[W]e hold patents on a variety of ideas — some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don't. Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patents," a Google spokesperson tells The Verge.
But aside from this system, Google, in collaboration with Novartis, is already working on smart lenses that will be able to analyze tears to measure blood sugar levels. On top of that, the company is also developing a cloud-connected sensor that can monitor glucose levels.
If Google gets these concepts off the ground, a lot of customers would be more than willing to bring their business to the company, as roughly 29 million individuals in the United States alone have diabetes. Additionally, the World Health Organization estimates that 9 percent of adults aged 18 and above suffer from diabetes in 2014. The institution also links approximately 1.5 million deaths to diabetes in 2012.
It's still unclear whether the needle-free blood drawing system is in the works, but if it does materialize, it will be a convenient and painless way to carry out blood tests.