Google is working with medical company Novartis
to bring smart contact lenses
to market, capable of helping to monitor the wearer's health. An agreement
between the two companies has Novartis subsidiary Alcon licensing "smart lens" technology from Google, something first unveiled in January, with the aim of developing the technology further and making it commercially viable.
The eventual contact lenses will include "non-invasive sensors, microchips, and other miniaturized electronics" to help in two potential ways, reports Engadget
. One aspect involves helping diabetic patients manage their glucose levels, with the lens measuring tear fluid in the eye and alerting the wearer with a mobile device notification. Another system will involve helping far-sighted people incapable of reading material close to the eye, with the lens able to "provide accommodative vision correction" as part of a refractive cataract treatment.
As pert the agreement, Google will be working primarily on the miniaturization of electronics for the lens, while Novartis will find ways to use the lenses for more medicinal purposes. In a statement, Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez claimed "This is a key step for us to go beyond the confines of traditional disease management, starting with the eye."