Contact lenses that act as a glucose monitoring system for diabetics aren't exactly a new idea, but it looks like a group of researchers from the University of Western Ontario might be a bit closer to making them a reality, as they've now received a $200,000+ grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation to further develop the technology. The secret to their contacts are some "extremely small" nanoparticles that are embedded in the hydrogel lenses which, like some similar systems (such as those pictured at right), react to the glucose molecules in tears and cause a chemical reaction that changes the color of the lenses -- thereby informing the wearer when their blood sugar is too low or too high. What's more, the reseachers say the same basic idea could also have a wide range of other applications beyond glucose monitoring -- for instance, being used in food packaging to indicate if the food is spoiled or contaminated.

[Thanks, Yuka]