The Google patent for “needle-free blood drawing” system may be the first step in making the practice of taking a blood sample pain-free. The patent, published this week, outlines how the process would work. It involves sending gas to a barrel with a micro-particle that punctures the skin. A negative-pressure barrel then sucks blood into the device. It would be completely painless and fast.
In another case, an Alphabet company called Verily is working to create a less invasive method for collecting blood. The company has raised $25 million to develop a painless blood collection device. The technology involves magnets and microneedles that “explode” into the skin, drawing blood and then retract. Researchers have studied various designs, including the use of a watch to draw blood. If successful, this innovation may be able to make the blood collection process more affordable.
As a health tech company, Google has a history of working on health-related products. The company’s Life Sciences department has worked on developing tiny contact lenses and a cloud-connected sensor that would help people monitor their blood glucose levels. In both cases, these projects could be helpful for diabetics. And it could also be beneficial for people with disabilities, such as arthritis or back pain. Google’s efforts in this area are not entirely new, though, and their patents indicate that the company is willing to pursue new technologies and innovate to expand its reach.