You'll need a prescription for Google's next health wearable

Stethoscope next to keyboard and coffee cup

Google has announced a new health-tracking wearable that could be prescribed to patients based on need.

The device, which will likely not be available to consumers, was developed by the company's research division, Google X, and measures the user's pulse, heart rhythm, skin temperature and other information about their environment such as light and noise levels.

Andy Conrad, head of the life sciences team at Google, told Bloomberg: "Our intended use is for this to become a medical device that's prescribed to patients or used for clinical trials.

"I envision a day, in 20 or 30 years, where physicians give it to all patients," he added. "Prevention means all the time."

Conrad's statement rules out the wearable being generally available to consumers in the near future, though many of its features are similar to those offered by Android Wear.

Google will test the device with academics and drugmakers in the coming months, revealed Google spokeswoman Jacquelyn Miller, with the eventual aim of using it in clinical trials and drug tests.

Gathering accurate results that can be used for these trials has previously been hard achieve, Kara Dennis, managing director of mobile health at Medidata, said.

"Historically, doctors do everything patients just need to turn up at the trial site," Dennis said. "Now, we're asking patients to take on meaningful responsibility in gathering information."

Other projects the Google X division has been tasked with are driverless cars and delivery drones. In the healthcare sector, a smart contact lens design was also revealed last year. The lenses, designed with diabetes sufferers in mind, use sensors to measure glucose levels in tears, transmitting results back to a smartphone.

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

You can get in touch with Caroline via email at