Google's 'Smart Contact Lens' Might Counteract Aging Effects on the Eye
If you thought Google Glass was cool, you're going to love their latest gadget. The 'Smart Lens' was developed as part of a partnership between the tech giant and the healthcare specialists, Novartis.
Initially designed as a tool to help diabetics measure the glucose levels without having to prick themselves, the lens design features two thin layers of contact lens material with a wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor embedded between them. Programmed to send live glucose-level updates to the patient's smartphone, these ingenious little computers were already a huge technological advance in the medical sphere.
And as important as this new technology would be for the world's enormous diabetic population (1 in 19 people worldwide), it looks like Google's new partnership with the Swiss Pharmaceutical Company will open-up the possible medical applications of the Smart Lens to an even broader slice of the population. Alcon, the contact lens subsidiary of 'Novartis' will be working on adding a layer of vision-correcting technology to the upcoming diabetic aid. Hopefully, with this additional feature, adults suffering the effects of vision degradation from aging could learn to re-focus their eyes to read without the help of glasses.
"Alcon and Google have a deep and common passion for innovation," Jeff George, division head of Alcon announced earlier today. "By combining Alcon's leadership in eye care and expertise in contact lenses and intraocular lenses with Google's innovative "smart lens" technology and groundbreaking speed in research, we aim to unlock a new frontier to jointly address the unmet medical needs of millions of eye care patients around the world."
Something as simple as correcting eye deterioration might not seem like much to the under 40, but for those who suffer from these conditions, the implications could be life-changing. Novartis Chief Executive Joe Jimenez says that he would like to see the product on the market sometime within the next 5 years."This really brings high-technology and combines it with biology and that's a very exciting combination for us," Jimenez told Reuters. "I think you're going to see more and more areas of unmet medical need where companies like Novartis are going to take a non-traditional approach to addressing those unmet needs."