Smarter contacts for smarter eyeballs

Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis has signed a deal with Google to license the search giant's "smart lens" contact technology. Google[x] revealed the glucose level-sensing contact lenses earlier this year, which monitored chemical levels in tears once a second and relayed that information to the wearer's smartphone. The deal with Novartis brings Google[x] a partnership with an established ocular device manufacturer, and could someday bring the smart contacts into the real world.

Novartis's eye care division is named Alcon, and it's worth noting that these smart contact lenses are still likely long ways off. Partnerships like this will be essential for Google and other tech firms as they develop new technologies, but lack the established credentials and medical expertise of existing medical-focused companies that know how to navigate everything from the FDA to the hospital.

The previously-revealed information about the contacts, which included miniature sensors, processors, and other electronic bits within the lens was focused on its ability to detect glucose levels. And while Alcon is including that as a focus, they're also exploring using them to treat presbyopia — a condition where the flexible lens of the human eye loses the ability to focus (making it harder to see closer things) — either as a traditional on-the-cornea lens or an implanted intraocular lens.

Though the lenses are likely still a long ways out, what kind of smart contact lenses would you like to see? Kind of puts a new spin on the whole "wearable technology" thing, eh?

Source: Novartis