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Google X Developing Wearable Technology That Detects Cancer

October 28, 2014 - Written By Ian Jardine

Google X, which is Google’s top secret division that is responsible for piloting some very ambitious projects, seems to have an endless amount of tricks up its sleeve. Most people are likely familiar with its Google Glass device and may have also heard about the self-driving car that they have in development. The people at Google X have a very wide scope, however, as they are not only working on technology meant to simplify daily tasks but also to help prevent disease and improve people’s quality of life. Google X has already revealed their contact lens that helps detect low glucose levels in diabetics and also some assistive technology that helps Parkinson’s patients manage their hand tremors. Google X has now revealed another of their projects relating to health care, a type of wearable technology meant to detect cancer within the human body.

The technology would work via a partnership between a pill and a wearable device. If a person wanted to see if they had any cancers in their body, they would swallow a pill that would release particles covered in magnetized antibodies into the body that would attach themselves to any cancerous cells. The wearable device would then draw the particles back to report what is happening. The people at Google X believe this type of technology would be massively beneficial as it would allow people to be aware of an illness much earlier than usual, instead of when it is already too late. When speaking at a recent conference, Andrew Conrad, the head of Google’s life sciences, stated that “We’re passionate about switching from reactive to proactive and we’re trying to provide the tools that make that feasible.”

Another added benefit of this particular technology is that these particles can also help cells become fluorescent, which would mean that cancer cells could show up on an MRI much earlier than ever before. Google believes that this technology has potential to help a in a wide variety of other situations as well, as they released a statement that says “Maybe there could be a test for the enzymes given off by arterial plaques that are about to rupture and cause a heart attack or stroke. Perhaps someone could develop a diagnostic for post-surgery or post-chemo cancer patients – that’s a lot of anxious people right there.” This technology could indeed be groundbreaking as its implications are staggering in terms of the amount of lives that could be saved. Google X has received a lot of criticism and mockery due the controversies that their Glass project has encountered and their perceived lack of success in the development of the self-driving car, but these types of health related projects are eminently laudable and are a testament to both Google’s breadth of ambition and commitment to improving the world in so many different ways.