Google Contact Lens to Combat Diabetes



Google is testing prototypes of a new, smart contact lens that will monitor the glucose levels of diabetes patients by using their tears. While the device looks like a regular contact lens, it uses a tiny glucose sensor with a wireless transmitter – and it is the smallest one ever made. It contains two glitter-specks packed with tens of thousands of miniaturized transistors and ringed with a hair-thin antenna.


The market for the future device is large; the International Diabetes Federation estimates that there are currently 382 million diabetics today, growing to 590 million by the year 2035. Diabetes affects nearly one in every 19 people in the world. Today, diabetics test their own blood glucose levels multiple times a day by using needles to prick their fingers. Uncontrolled blood sugar can cause damage to the eyes, kidney, and heart.


The market size is estimated at $16 billion by the end of 2014. Google is currently testing the device, working with the FDA, and is looking for partners who are experts in bringing sophisticated health care devices to market.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

1. Show the video:
2. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies (e.g., market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification).
3. Which strategy is Google using for this product? Divide students into teams. Have each team select one of the four different strategies and explain why that strategy could be used to market the contact lens devices.
4. Have each team determine the marketing mix (4Ps) to support their strategy choice.
5. Debrief the exercise.

Source:  Google,, New York Times, other news sources, 1/17/14

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