Skip to main content

Google's 'smart contacts' could soon find their way to your 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

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm (the old one), and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.

  • Grammatical error in the title. Please fix. Posted via Android Central App
  • Reading it made me want to gauge my eyes out Posted via Android Central App
  • Iv been shaking in rage, unable to even comment due to this error.
  • Their doing there best, you guys.
  • lol
  • Posted via Android Central App
  • The error made in calling it grammatical rather than spelling? Posted via Android Central App on my HP TouchPad (Schizoid PAC-ROM 4.2.2)
  • Derp.
  • I thought the creator of the smart contacts quit Google. Posted via Android Central App
  • He did but he was the creator of smart glass, not contacts
  • He actually worked on both products.
  • Ohhh dat bezel! Posted via Android Central App
  • I lol'd
  • I can already "see" it... Lol
    You're riding down the street, look to the clothing shop on left, bam an advertisement for 10% off right in your eyes, look at bakery to the right, bam "get a free coffee with purchase of pastry" all up in your vision. But don't worry, you're not going to crash that car, you can't, Google is driving it :-) (of course we know this is way off, just wanted to insert some fun & imagination) Posted via Android Central App
  • +1000 Thanks for the laugh.. Lol Posted via Android Central App on The Nexus 5
  • i'm "envisioning" HUD type information such as T-1000 Terminator style or Iron Man/Jarvis style.
  • No removable battery, no SD card. NO BUY! ಠ益ಠ
  • Da bezzle, tho!
  • Sounds like the first step to a Denexus like future. Posted via Android Central App
  • It's the end of the world! *grabs tinfoil hat* Posted via Android Central App on The Nexus 5
  • Lol Posted via Android Central App
  • Make sure you don't forget your tinfoil contact lenses. Posted via Android Central App
  • Is there an app so they can act like those x-ray specs they used to advertise in the back of Boy's Life magazine? Posted via Android Central App
  • Cyclops ready... Posted vi a turkey sandwich
  • This is awesome. Google Glass will go way of the dodo bird once these get up and running. Wonder if people will still beg for government to save them from the people that have cameras in their eyes just like they do with Google Glass. I swear I was born a century too soon.
  • But can it run Crysis!?! EDIT: Joking aside, this is a very cool application of wearable health technology!
  • +1
  • But more importantly, will it blend?!
  • So F-cken silly Posted via Android Central App
  • Unless you have diabetes or something similar, in which case it could stop you having to draw your own blood regularly, wearing uncomfortable and sometimes painful sensors, going into shock, or even dying. Yeah, so silly...
  • I wonder how they're powered? Posted via Android Central App
  • I see a strong tie to the medical community for diabetics. Now, there are thousands of powers and BC (base curve) and to make it more fun cylinder power (astigmatism) to throw into the mix. Wonder if it could be produced in both soft and hard. Posted via Android Central App
  • I'm starting to hate Google. First privacy issues. Now a new trend of putting their products on your body. o_0 Posted via Android Central App
  • See Kvoth's comment upthread. Feel free to substitute invasive for silly.
    Posted via Android Central App
  • Is not the product is very annoying when used