Raise your hand if you hate blood tests? I know I do, and evidently have the classic ‘I’m going to pass out face’. Google is looking to disrupt the medical world with their Google X research into nanoparticles. The idea is to develop a pill that will be able to detect cancers and other diseases.

The magnetic particles would be able to be directed to parts of your body using wearable magnets. Ok, it’s not quite a tricorder, but Google is making the effort. Andrew Conrad, head of Google X’ Life Science team explained the features of the nanoparticles.

At one-thousandth the size of a red blood cell, the magnetic nanoparticle could attach to other cells, proteins or molecules in the body. This could be used to detect everything from high sodium levels to the build up of arterial plaque. According to Conrad, the pill could be used to detect early signs of disease, and eventually replace the standard blood test.

Before privacy advocates have a stroke at the idea of Google collecting health information, Google X has said the goal is to license out the technology to third parties. It would not be responsible for the data collected.

This is the second major push into medicine by Google X. The company is developing an advanced contact lens for diabetic patients. Serving as a alternative to traditional needle stick glucose monitors, the lens would measure levels through a patient’s tears.

Unfortunately, the technology is still years away. For now, we are stuck with the tried and true method of blood draws. Still, it is great to see technology being pushed to improve quality of life. Apps are great, but the true frontier of technology lies in fields such as medicine.

Read more about Google’s research initiatives here.


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