Submitted by a Canadian student design team, the contact lens system uses a miniaturized biosensor to monitor blood sugar in the user's tears. The sensor is wirelessly powered by a Near Field Communication device and sends information directly to a user's smartphone. Since traditional methods require drawing blood or otherwise puncturing the skin, the contact lens system is designed to make the process less invasive and painful. Encouraged by the Dyson award, the designers have since incorporated as Medella Health, Like Cazzoli and his pocket inhaler, Medella designer Harry Gandhi also has personal reasons for wanting to develop the smart contact lens system.
"Diabetes is something that has personally affected my family, so this one hits close to home," Gandhi told Seeker. "But aside from that, our health care system as a whole needs to improve. We notice longer and longer wait times, shorter and shorter times with our clinicians. This creates an opportunity for technology to take a part and help reduce the burden for health care providers."
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Gandhi said that competing in the Dyson event, and earning a coveted top twenty designation, makes a huge difference for young inventors trying to navigate the marketplace.
"Not only do they look at the technology, but they also look at the viability of how this will perform on the market," Gandhi said.
It also makes the team work even harder, Gandhi said. The smart contact lens system has gone through dozens of overhauls, hundreds of gradual iterations, and thousands of twists and tweaks.
"One thing I'd say to a younger version of myself is to not be afraid of getting things wrong," Gandhi said. "Instead, learn by doing things, don't be afraid to fail, and always learn from your mistakes. It's amazing that a couple of chemicals, metals and a bit of code can come together to create a moment of awe."
It's well worth clicking through the Dyson project gallery to see all the various projects that have made the cut since 2007. Next time you're tempted to complain about the industriousness of today's young people, just take a leisurely scroll around the Dyson site. Here are three more of our favorites from the 2016 Top 20 list.