Earlier we told you how Google’s secret wing, Google X is working on a cancer detecting wearable and Google Glass. In the year 2014, it teamed up with the pharmaceutical company Novartis for developing a smart contact lens. Taking its smart eyewear tech up by a few notches, Google X and Alcon eyewear at Novartis planned to develop contact lens that will include a low-power microchip and barely there electronic circuit.
A quick forward to 2015 and we come to know that Google smart contact lens has been granted patent. The contact lens will play crucial role in treating presbyopia and blood-sugar tracking directly from the tear fluid of the eyes.
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Reportedly, Babak Parviz, one of the leads in the development of Google Glass, co-developed this project. Now, when Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Shimdt says that Google Glass may be off the drawing boards and brainstorming sessions, we think it still is the muse and continues to inspire the future projects.
The patent was applied for in September 2012 but was granted just now. The abstract of the patent talks about forming a substrate, providing a sensor on the substrate and followed by the chip at the second region on the substrate.
The smart contact lens will diagnose the user’s blood sugar levels by automatically measuring the blood sugar levels from the tear fluid. The tear fluid is found on the surface of the eyeball. After the measurement, the results will be sent to your smartphone for the further assessment.
This partnership between technology and medicine will help patients in timely detection and manage diabetes. Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin said that miniaturisation of electronics in this way would improve the quality of life.
Novartis’ CEO Joe Jimenez stated that it will help the company to address the unmet medical needs and create a large revenue stream. Since diabetes is becoming a critical health issue in developed and third-world countries, the smart contact lens can pave a way forward for self-detection and management.
Though, the contact lenses are in prototype phase and according to the company, it will take at least five years to push the product to the commercial market. Meanwhile Novartis is trying to manoeuvre the technology for long-sighted people. The contact lenses can help them to autofocus on the object while correcting the vision when they read.
Google’s smart contact lens can definitely alert the people at the onset of diabetes for better control and management of the disease. However, I am not convinced about inserting a contact lens with a wiring into a delicate organ like eyes, how invisible or minute it be. What is your opinion here?