Wearable tech has come a step further with smart contact lenses. Google’s is working on contact lenses that have a built-in camera and sensors. They actually filed the patent back in 2012 with the US Patent and Trademark office and the contact lens is currently being developed by Google X labs. This is Google’s top-secret facility, where all manner of technological advancements and products are created, most of which – like the smart lens – almost seem too science-fiction-ish, but are actually just wildly imaginative and groundbreaking.
Like a normal contact lens, the smart lens adjusts itself to the center of the eye. The camera also follows your vision. The contact lens’ current proposed applications are mostly medical, as its sensors are designed to read glucose levels from the tear fluids of the eye. This non-invasive way of monitoring sugar levels is particularly useful for diabetes patients as well as those monitoring other minor and major health problems. As of April of this year, the lenses already have two patents related to this.
As for the camera-related patent also filed by Google, it describes how the lens’ embedded camera is meant to take photos and detect them, functioning mainly as a tool to help the visually impaired.
The potential of smart contact lenses applications
This camera technology’s potential to reach heights as advanced as facial recognition or giving the wearer the ability to achieve superhuman eyesight or night vision may be in our near future. Privacy issues will definitely be one of the hurdles we’ll have to face once this technology is fully developed, especially since the lenses can be very inconspicuous.
What it looks like now
Because cameras are meant to absorb light, the CMOS camera sensors’ circuitry in the most recent prototype is visible in the lens as a circular golden ring. This ring can look quite distracting, so there’s still room for improvement in terms of the lens’ aesthetics.
Since it’s still currently in development, we’re going to have more to look forward to pretty soon!