The age of cyborgs is nearly upon us. Google and healthcare giant Novartis have announced that the latter is licensing Google’s smart contact lens technology to develop a contact that can help patients manage certain diseases. The tech, which is still in development, is a product of Google’s X labs and marries a contact lens with a wireless transmitter and built-in sensors.
Google’s initial hope was for the lens to be able to detect the glucose level in users’ tears, so diabetics would no longer have to prick their fingers every time they need to check their blood sugar. Once the lens detects a patient’s glucose level, it would wirelessly send the information to their smartphone or other mobile device.
Novartis, though, is thinking bigger. The Swiss company also wants the lenses to help patients with presbyopia, a condition in which a patient’s ability to focus on close objects is severely diminished, see normally again.
To do so, Novartis says the contact could offer what it calls, “accommodative vision correction,” that could restore a patient’s eyes’ ability to automatically focus on nearby objects. This would involve using either the smart contact or an intraocular lens.
Just because Google and Novartis are teaming up, however, doesn’t mean the smart contact technology is ready for primetime. The lenses are still very much in development. But with Google’s understanding of the tech side of the equation and Novartis’ expertise in eye care, patients could soon be popping in contacts that make their lives a whole lot better.
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