Design Engineering

Waterloo-based Medella Health wins national James Dyson award


General Medical James Dyson Award

The company has designed a "Smart Contact Lens Platform" to monitor glucose levels in patients with diabetes.

People with diabetes are constantly needing to measure blood glucose levels, a process that can be somewhat invasive and painful.

Medella Contact Lens

Photo Courtesy of Medella Health.

Waterloo-based Medella Health has won the national prize in the James Dyson Award for its glucose-sensing contact lens design.

The company has designed a “Smart Contact Lens Platform” that would send glucose level information from tear fluid to a mobile phone so patients are able to monitor diabetes.

A person with diabetes would simply put in the contact lens and a small clip that can be hidden behind the ear. The lens antenna communicates with the clip device to transmit data to the person’s phone.


The team explains that the platform includes three components: a detection module, power module, and communication module. The power module transfers energy wirelessly to the lens via Near Field Communication (NFC). The application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) on the lens converts this energy into usable working energy to power the biosensor, which performs a potentiometric measurement to detect the amount of glucose present in the tear film. The ASIC converts the data from the sensor into an analog signal, and communicates it back to the reader.

The device has involved 19 prototypes and multiple iterations to optimize performance especially in the glucose sensor.

The next step for the team is to incorporate the device components into a wearable contact lens and obtain regulatory approval.


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