Google is making human skin. Thankfully it’s not for Andy Rubin’s new defence contract or to stretch over his Androids! After moving Glass to the mainstream and not far away from doing the same to internet balloons, it’s time for a new push into healthcare. Google is creating limbs with artificial dermis as part of new research into a ‘wristband that can detect cancer’.
Google X labs must be a weird and wonderful place to be. An Aladdin’s cave of creative and outrageous technology, creating a world more fitting for Area 51. The scientists in the ‘life sciences’ division of Google X have created artificial skin to make trials and tests as life like as possible. With the overall aim to create a wristbands able to detect cancer, impending heart attacks and other diseases.
“We’re trying to change medicine from being episodic and reactive, like going to the doctor saying ‘my arm hurts’, to being proactive and preventative,” Dr Andrew Conrad – speaking to the Atlantic spoke of the plan that the rise of affordable tiny technology will bring.
Although very much in the early days of creation, the wristband would be accompanied by a pill containing Nanoparticles to search and detect cancer cells. Google then plans to make these cells ‘light up” in order for the magnetic wristband to detect them. This artificial skin is being used to calculate how the light from the cells will travel to the surface of the skin.
The skin has the “same autofluorescence and biochemical components of real arms” and is made of a combination of synthetic and real human skin from donors. If that’s not enough to make you feel a little queasy, I’m not sure what does. However, if Google can crack this code millions of people will survive because of them.
Detection would occur when dangerous cells are first circulating the body, long before any symptoms would appear. Turbo boosting survival rates and cutting the chances of debilitating or invasive healthcare. This type of detection has been theorised by many leading healthcare researchers looking into the Internet of things.
Nanoparticles could be used to detect disease, infection or the introduction / increase of any number of almost anything making up the bloods biochemistry. Aiding your doctor to diagnose anything from food intolerances to medication effectiveness or anything inbetween. It’s important to note that not everything from Google labs ever comes to fruition. Many are shelved until technology catches up, or simply do not work – we just don’t hear of them all.
“We’re making good progress but the journey is long and hard. So I think we will get there and I hope it’s years, not decades.” – Dr Andrew Conrad
With fingers in so many pies its hard to focus on what Google’s next move is. It is very refreshing that they are not building the next first world problem, but solving some of the worlds biggest problems. With work on a glucose detecting contact lense well underway, and joint research into MS starting they are really giving back to the people. As many have asked before, would all this be possible without Google?