MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Google Inc. is stepping closer to developing a device to draw blood for medical testing without needles, Wired reported Monday morning.

The Internet giant filed a patent application Dec. 3 on a gas-based system designed to draw blood from a fingertip to be used to test blood sugar levels. According to the patent application, the device works through a surge of pressurized gas to launch a “micro-particle” at a high rate of speed in order to pierce the skin and draw blood. Google said the device could operate automatically, or manually. Abstract images filed with the patent show the device as a traditional finger-tip device or as an item like a watch, which could suggest the company will continue to dive into the field of wearable medical devices. Google did not specify what application the device could be used for, although the company told The Verge that one possibility was for a glucose test, leading speculation that the device will be used to aid diabetes patients.

Google though, told The Verge that it was premature for speculation about the device.

“We 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 told The Verge.

However, Google has already made headway into developing diabetes-related devices.

In September, Google teamed up with Novartis (NVS), one of the largest insulin makers in the world, to develop contact lenses to monitor blood glucose levels. The lens, as described on Jan. 16, 2014 on the official Google blog is “a smart contact lens that’s built to measure glucose levels in tears using a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor that are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material.” The blog went on to indicate the company was testing prototypes that could create a reading every second and that might have integrated LED lights that would light up to warn the wearer when glucose levels were too high or low.

In August, Google and Paris-based Sanofi (SNY), another leader in diabetes therapies, teamed up on diabetes monitoring and treatments, although little was revealed about the partnership. Also in August, Google entered a partnership with DexCom (DXCM) to develop a Band-Aid sized wearable glucose monitor.

Andy Conrad, chief executive officer of Google’s Life Sciences division said diabetes research touches so many different health sciences areas.

“Diabetics are far more likely to have heart attacks, they’re far more likely to have cancer, and they’re 15 times more likely to have their foot cut off because of vascular issues,” Conrad said to Bloomberg in an earlier interview. “If we could prevent strong and profound fluctuations in the levels of blood sugar, we could prevent most of the problems associated with diabetes.

In January, Google and multiple sclerosis drug maker Biogen Idec (BIIB) teamed up to research and address environmental and genetic factors that can cause the debilitating disease multiple sclerosis.

In addition to its medical device forays, Google is also a leader in medical data collection. Google Genomics is a system that allows hospitals, research facilities and universities to store and share genomic data. In January, Google announced thousands of data points have already been uploaded onto the platform. Google has been making great strides in personalized medicine. In May, Jessica Mega, a prominent cardiologist at Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, has left to head up the Baseline Study of Google X, the technology company’s life sciences division. The Baseline Study program is part of the precision medicine initiative to “understand what it means to be healthy, down to the molecular and cellular level,” Google said in a statement.

Google announced on Aug. 20 that it was forming an umbrella company, Alphabet, and then spinning off various companies, including Life Sciences. Life Sciences, which will soon be changing its name, is the first company to stand alone under Alphabet.

Google Files Patent to Draw Your Blood Without Needles
December 7, 2015
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff
Source: BioSpace